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Child Marriage — Health Issues for Quiet Women

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Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director and Sangami Trasin, Senior Manager of Knowledge Management and Partnerships of the Indian Population Foundation suggests ways to combat social factors that enable children to marry in order to stop the practice

India, with nearly one in four girls married before the age of 18, accounts for the largest number of child brides in the world. Marriage of children is the result of deep-seated sociocultural norms and established gender inequality, which is detrimental to young girls, their health and well-being. Poverty, financial instability, and lack of education often force parents to marry their daughter early. Patriarchal norms play an important role in perpetuating this practice. For centuries, children’s marriages have enjoyed social sanctions, which the community sees as “securing” the future of their daughters or “solutions” to mitigate their dire economic situation. I am.

Therefore, it is not surprising that despite efforts to put an end to this harmful practice, the number of marriages of children in India has only decreased slightly over the last five years (27 of 2015-16). % To 23% in 2019-21), a pan-Indian survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India during the last two rounds of the National Family Health Survey.

The consequences of getting married at a very young age track women throughout their lives and affect them in all areas. Not only are they denied the right to choose a partner, but they are also pushed to the limit and exposed to a variety of religious, social, political and cultural practices that do not respect basic human rights. The physical and mental health of these young girls is deeply affected. Their psychological well-being and empowerment suffer as they are denied proper childhood and adolescence and become more sensitive to psychological abuse and domestic violence. Reduction of personal freedom. Incomplete education; lack of financial opportunities — all of which contribute to the cyclical nature of poor health, poverty and gender inequality.

The sexual and reproductive health of these young girls is also at risk. The lack of knowledge and institutions to negotiate safe sexual activity increases the risk of developing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and increases the chances of getting pregnant at an early age. According to data from the 5th National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5), at the time of the survey, about 7% of girls aged 15-19 years were pregnant or mothers. Adolescent mothers are vulnerable to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Early marriage and subsequent teenage pregnancies increase the risk of maternal death. Of all mothers, adolescent mothers are prone to unsafe abortions, preterm births, low birth weights, miscarriages, stillbirths and ultimately impaired nutrition and health of young mothers and their children. Will be. Anemia between children and women continues to be a source of national concern. According to NFHS 5 data, 59% of adolescent girls are anemic in India, up from 54% in 2015-16 (NFHS4).

Despite the fact that existing laws have been in force for over 40 years (such as the legal marriageable age of 18 for girls and 21 for boys), child marriage continues to be widespread in the country. It’s worth noting. This also shows the fact that a statutory marriage age is required, but in itself is not a proper prescription for ending a child’s marriage. As a recent development, on December 22, 2021, the 2021 Child Marriage Prohibition Bill (Amendment), which aims to raise the age of legal marriage of women from 18 to 21, was sent to the Standing Committee of Parliament for further discussion. Was done.

Political interest in ending a child’s marriage in the country is a welcome move, but any approach to ending customs must take into account the social factors that make it possible. ..

beginning, There is clear evidence that allowing girls to complete their education delays marriage and gives them the opportunity to become financially independent. Girls living in the lowest quintile rural areas with little or no education are more likely to get married before the age of 18. Governments need to address the barriers to education for girls by providing a safe environment and improving the quality of education. Make girls’ education a more profitable investment for parents.

No. 2, Improving the skills of adolescent girls, especially those in a marginalized community, is important for them to realize their financial potential and transition to empowered adults.

number 3, There is an urgent need to eliminate girls and boys from marriage-related decisions and challenge and transform patriarchal norms that undermine the value of girls.

the 4th, All marriages, births and deaths must be compulsorily registered through a system that includes citizens, religions and customary unions as a means of tracking marriage and marriage age.

finally, The statutory marriage age should be uniform at age 18 for both boys and girls across all religions, classes and beliefs to ensure gender equality.

Child Marriage — Health Issues for Quiet Women

Source link Child Marriage — Health Issues for Quiet Women

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