Unicef: Child marriage figures show significant drop in India

The Unicef said the problem was now "most severe" in Africa but even so, Ethiopia had cut child marriage rates by a third.

Published: 06th March 2018 11:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2018 11:22 AM   |  A+A-

Adopt zero-tolerance policy on child marriage: National Human Rights Commission

Image used for representational purpose. ( File | AP)


NEW YORK: There has been a significant drop in the number of child marriages worldwide and India contributed significantly to the global decline in the practice, the UN children's agency Unicef said on Tuesday.

According to the Unicef, 25 million child marriages were prevented in the past decade. South Asia witnessed the largest decline in child marriage worldwide in the last 10 years as a girl's risk of marrying before turning 18 dropped by more than a third, from nearly 50 per cent to 30 per cent, in large part due to progress in India. 

"Increasing rates of girls' education, proactive government investments in adolescent girls and strong public messaging around the illegality of child marriage and the harm it causes were among the reasons for the shift," the agency said.

One in five girls are now married before they are 18, compared with one in four a decade ago.

The Unicef said the problem was now "most severe" in Africa but even so, Ethiopia had cut child marriage rates by a third.

Anju Malhotra, Unicef's principal gender adviser, said that given the life-changing impact child marriage had on a girl's life, "any reduction is welcome news -- but we've got a long way to go".

"When a girl is forced to marry as a child she faces immediate and lifelong consequences. Her odds of finishing school decrease while her odds of being abused by her husband and suffering complications during pregnancy increase. There are also huge societal consequences, and higher risk of intergenerational cycles of poverty," she said.

The report said that the burden of child marriage was shifting to sub-Saharan Africa, where more progress was needed to offset population growth. Nearly one in three child marriages were now in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with one in five a decade ago.

World leaders have vowed to end child marriage by 2030 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Malhotra said that to meet that target, efforts had to be stepped up "to prevent millions of girls having their childhoods stolen through this devastating practice".

"Each and every child marriage prevented gives another girl the chance to fulfil her potential," she said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp