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Increasing marital age might not help young girls’ vulnerability

Ever since the Prime Minister’s 74th Independence Day speech, most people are not able to get over the fact that he mentioned about sanitary napkins when there are more important issues to bring into light. The issue of increasing the minimum age for marriage of women was raised by the Prime Minister. However, doing this might not help at all.

“We have set up a committee to reconsider the correct age of marriage of girls. A decision will be taken once the report comes,” said the PM on Saturday. Marriage in India has not been an option for most females for a long time. Rather it is looked at as a necessary ritual. Even though the marital age at the moment is 18 years, girls are often married off in backward villages and sometimes even in cities as soon as their menstrual cycle begins which indicates maturity.

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Instead of increasing the age regarding marriage; education and communication is required. Making sure that girls are not forced to get married is more important. Child marriage should be null and void. The only problem that persists is that if a girl is forced in a marriage, she obviously does not have the capacity to go and report it because often times the society including governing forces of the area are involved.

In a survey, girls in the age group of 6-14 years have provided the following reasons for quitting school:

  1. 24.8 % stated a lack of interest in studies;
  2. 19.3 % reported the high cost of education;
  3. 14.5 % attributed the burden of unpaid household work;
  4. Only 7.9 % reported marriage as a reason for dropping out of school.
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Although, the above study shows that marriage is not the most important reason why girls drop out of school. But the fact that child marriage is the consequence of quitting education and not the cause cannot be overlooked.

“About 65% of the cases involve parents using the law against self-arranged marriages by their daughters, and the remaining 35% of the cases are parents seeking to nullify daughters’ marriages which break down on account of dowry or domestic abuse, or by boys seeking to nullify marriages that have broken down,” according to the studies.

Saumyaa Bisht
About author

I love to read about unsettling and dark things/concepts/rituals that people usually like to ignore and I’m extremely fond of literature and movies.
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