Child Marriage in India — An analysis of available data
UNICEF report, 2012
“Child marriage is a violation of child rights. Whether it happens to a boy or a girl, child marriage
challenges the right to health, education, protection and development. Child brides are often forced
to drop out of schools, are subject to the risks of early pregnancy and are more likely to be exposed
to violence and isolation.
Approximately, twenty-three million girls in India face this reality. While the country is growing at
an average of eight per cent a year, child marriage is decreasing at less than one percentage point
a year. This has enormous consequences not only on children as individuals but also on families,
communities and the nation as a whole. Future generations are pulled out of school early with few
skills to access job opportunities thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
The pattern of disparity and inequity is visible in child marriage prevalence. While the practice
concerns on average one in two women aged twenty to twenty-four, the prevalence is even higher
among disadvantaged groups, the poorest families and in the rural areas.
Through the figures, child marriage also reveals the story of gender discrimination. Girls are being
pulled out of school to become brides and their role in society is often limited to being wives. It is clear
from the statistics that girls’ freedom of movement and power of decision making are also still limited.”