EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE

EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE-GENDER STUDY [ CSS/PMS/FPSC/UPSC]

International conventions halt early child marriage and define eighteen the age of adulthood. These rules are based on strong arguments that children and adolescents are not mature in taking wise decision regarding marriage. This early child marriage can lead to long lasting emotional, physical and psychological harm. Early stage marriage prohibits progress towards national and international development and threatening peace and stability. Delay in the age of marriage and investment in girls future, can have a multiplier effect that can benefit the communities at large.(https://eastwestknowledge.com/good-governance/)

CAUES OF EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE

There are various causes for the early child marriage, like Poverty, cultural norms and low societal values.

[1] ECONOMICS

In some societies women are not normally considered viable wage earners. In some communities or families daughter is considered as an economic burden. Poor (impoverished) families decide to betroth a daughter early to avoid the cost of education. In case, girls are not getting education from schools or schools are not available in their areas so that parents have an extra incentive.

Some families most of the time marry off a child to erase debt burden or settle feuds. Dowry and bride price is also major factor in the child marriage. A young girl has more time to give to her new family and bear children. In many parts of India, dowry or money is offered to the groom family it can be less amount, if girl is younger. A common custom in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, money is given to bride parents, that price will be more if girl age is less. Wealthier countries support this hypothesis that poverty and economic survival are drivers of early marriages.

[2] CULTURAL NORMS :

Early Child marriage happen most of the time in patriarchal societies, in this society elder and parents have key role in selecting of spouses for their children and brides are absorbed into their new families to help domestically. Many culture focus on girl virginity, which is considered a family honor. Parents marry off their daughter in an early age to ensure that she marries as a virgin and to prevent out of wedlock birth. In North East Africa and in many parts of the middle east, child marriage frequently happen shortly after female genital cutting. This concept is considered as promoting virginity and deterring sexual assault.

RELIGIOUS FACTOR:

People from various religions support early child marriage. It is controversial in many religious communities. For instance, in Ethiopia, early Child marriage is part of orthodox Christian community custom. On the other hand, in the Anhara region in which orthodox church opposes this practice. Those Muslims who pursue a conservative interpretation of Sharia argue that Islam allow it.

They produce explanation that is, Quran specifies that girl can be married upon reaching maturity but conservative scholars define puberty. There is debate within Islam at what age a girl reaches maturity. Some Muslim sects and scholars agree with the internationally recognized age of maturity, which is eighteen. Some Muslims against child marriage, on this reason that, Islam allow men and women to choose their partner freely.

GEOGRAPHY IS AN ISSUE

Early Child marriage cross the regional and cultural barriers. In developing countries, it is estimated one in three girls is married before turn eighteen and one in nine before turn fifteen. In case, current trends continue, 142 million girls will marry before adulthood within this decade.

The prevalence rate was found in South Asia and Central Africa. women aged 20 to 24 reported, being married before enter into eighteen. India is on the top list in child marriage and its percent age is 40.United Nation and many non-governmental agencies broadly painted this picture.

  • Girls from rural areas are twice in number as compared to urban areas.
  • Mostly child brides are from impoverished families.
  • Married girls are not educated because lack of opportunities.
  • Top countries which are practicing child marriage,[India][Bangladesh] [Nigeria],[Brazil],[Ethiopia],[Pakistan],[Indonesia][Democratic Republic of Congo],[Mexico] and [Niger].

EFFECTS OF EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE

There are following early child marriage:

[1] HEALTH

After marriage, child brides are often expected to bear children. Brides face the pregnancy and childbirth complications, which includes obstetric fistula (a condition that cause chronic incontinence that causes commonly in girls who give birth before their bodies have matured). According to WHO report, pregnancy complications can lead to cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19.New born babies have lower weight and fragile immune system and face higher risks of malnutrition. In Kenya and Zambia a survey was conducted, in which it was found that HIV infection rate is higher in early age marriage than unmarried girls.

[2] ISOLATION

After marriage, they are cut off from their families and peer network and thrust into vulnerable environment. This isolation has long lasting effect on the emotions of young girls after marriage. Many families treat them violently and use abusive language. The age gap between the couple make her more vulnerable to abuse in family. After divorced, girls have little earning power, education and financial support. In case, bride widow early, she is considered burden in society and family.

[3] FEMALE EDUCATION

Limited education is both a cause and effect of early child marriage. Lack of education opportunities force girls to marry in early age. After marriage, it is difficult to carry on education. Girls have no wage opportunities and depend on their husbands and have limited power in house decision [UNICEF].

[4]POVERTY CYCLE

Girls who marry early have no skills, knowledge and social network to financially support their house.They have low societal status and create cycle of poverty in generations.It is hurdle in development of the community.Investing in girls education and in development there can be large advantages.There will be lower child and maternal mortality, lower birth rates and higher participation of female in development, which increases country GDP and per capita income.Prostitution and human trafficking is also shape of exploitation.

WAY FORWARD

[1] DATA COLLECTION IMPROVEMENT:

Early Child marriage data is short and uneven. Data is not properly reported from North Africa and Middle East countries. Due to the collaboration of Governments and multilateral organizations, data on early child marriages and related factors such as health of girls, age, child bearing, education and income contribution can be improved.

[2] STRENGTHEN LAWS

Ensure the implementation of laws regarding minimum age marriage. These laws can be tied into regulations against sexual violence and rape. Countries must make the laws for registration of birth and marriages and their enforcement.

[3] USE OF DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE:

Early child marriage prohibits economic growth and development, stability and human rights goals. To reduce this, every country take this, foreign policy priority.

[4] Maternal and Reproduction Health.

International agencies must support local health care system, educate girls with maternal care. Girls must be aware about family planning, sexual health education and sexually transmitted disease. These agencies can cooperate with local medical personnel to revamp quality of and access to maternal care for pregnant girls at risk of child birth complications.

[5] OFFER INCENTIVES:

Government and International agencies should offer financial support for girls and needy families to encourage them. So parents delay their marriage and provide education for them. This help can be in the shape of cash money.

[6] EXPAND THE FEMALE EDUCATION:

Grant the access of primary and secondary education to female ,which is very important to surge self reliance in girls. Formal education in school can assist girls to develop their thinking and social skills. This will help in taking wise decision and increase income. International agencies can work with local actors to pressure governments to make primary and secondary education compulsory.

[7] SPREAD AWARENESS

There must be community base programs, which can transfer public attitude about the roles of women and girls in society. Campaign on international level can aware parents and leaders of the countries, which reshape the society regarding old thinking. It will highlight the negative result of child marriage. Senegal-Based organizations is currently working to change the attitude of society towards both early marriage and female genital cutting. A religious group in Nepal, comprising, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist who are doing endeavor in pubic education campaign.

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