India has witnessed a sharp decline in child marriages over the last ten years with 27 per cent of girls getting married before their 18th birthday as against 47 per cent a decade ago, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said today.
This decline in India has contributed significantly to a global decline in child marriages, Overall, the proportion of girls who were married as children decreased by 15 per cent in the last decade, from 1 in 4 to approximately 1 in 5.
According to a statement issued by the UNICEF, 25 million child marriages were prevented globally in the last 10 years (2005-06 and 2015-16) with the largest reduction seen in South Asia with India being at the forefront.
The UNICEF stated, South Asia has witnessed the largest decline in child marriages worldwide in the last 10 years, as a girl’s risk of marrying before her 18th birthday has dropped by more than a third, from nearly 50 per cent to 30 per cent, in large part due to progress in India.
The UN children’s agency attributed increasing rates of girls’ education, proactive government investments in adolescent girls and strong public awareness about the illegality of child marriage and the harm it causes are among the reasons for the decline.