South Asia Witnessed Largest Decline In Child Marriage Due To Progress In India : UNICEF

| March 6 , 2018 , 17:15 IST

UNICEF on Tuesday came out with a report that highlights the decline in child marriage across the world. The report published by the UN body in New York states that the proportion of women who were married as a child has gone down by fifteen percent in the ten years. The figure has gone down from one in four women to one in five, UNICEF said.

India continues to have the highest number of child brides in the world. However, there is a good news as well -According to UNICEF, 25 million child marriages were prevented in the last decade thank to the accelerated progress across the globe with the highest decline being recorded in South Asia. The report says that a girl’s risk of marrying before her 18th birthday has dropped by more than a third, from nearly 50 percent to 30 percent, in large part due to progress in India. This has been made possible thanks to a range of initiatives, Increasing rates of girls’ education, proactive government investments in adolescent girls, and strong public messaging around the illegality of child marriage.

“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 a higher risk of intergenerational cycles of poverty,” said Anju Malhotra, UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor. “Given the life-altering impact child marriage has on a young girl’s life, any reduction is welcome news, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

As per UNICEF data, around 12 million girls are married during their childhood every year. The UN Sustainable development Goals calls to completely end the practice of child marriage by 2030. The agency says that unless further progress is made, more than 150 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030.

It is estimated that a total of 650 million women across the globe were married as children. Sub Saharan Africa today has the highest rate of child brides and has seen an increase in the child marriages as compared to a decade ago. Data shows that of the recently married child brides almost one-third are in sub-Saharan Africa. A decade ago Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for one-fifth of the child brides.