*12 million child marriages rival the population of J&K, shows data | Business Standard News

Clipped from: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/12-million-child-marriages-rival-the-population-of-j-k-shows-data-122071000505_1.html

As many of 7.84 million (65 per cent) married children were female, reinforcing the fact that girls are significantly more disadvantaged

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Nearly 12 million Indian children were married before the age of 10 years — 84 per cent of them Hindus and 11 per cent Muslims —reveals an analysis of recently released census data. To put it in context, this number is equivalent to Jammu & Kashmir’s population.

As many of 7.84 million (65 per cent) married children were female, reinforcing the fact that girls are significantly more disadvantaged; eight in 10 illiterate children who were married were also girls.

The data further reveals that 72 per cent of all Hindu girls married before 10 were in rural areas, compared to 58.5 per cent Muslim girls, with higher levels of education correlating with later marriage.

Jain women marry late (at a median age of 20.8 years), followed by Christian women (20.6 years) and Sikh women (19.9 years). Hindu and Muslim women have the lowest median age at first marriage (16.7 years), according to a report by Nirantar: A Centre for Gender and Education — a Delhi-based advocacy group. Women from urban areas, on average, marry more than two years later than their rural counterparts.


The report also noted that the level of teenage pregnancy and motherhood is 9x higher among women with no education than among women with 12 or more years of education.

As many as 5.4 million (44 per cent) married children under 10 were illiterate — 80 per cent of them female — indicating how lower levels of education correlate with early marriage.

As many as 1,403 females have never attended any educational institution for every 1,000 males who have not.

In developing countries, girls with less access to quality education are more likely to marry early, wrote Quentin Wodon, an advisor in the World Bank’s education department.

Better and safer job opportunities for girls may also reduce child marriage, as might better access to basic infrastructure (water, electricity), which frees up time spent on domestic chores for schooling, wrote Wodon.

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