Child Marriage in India

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Posted on 2/13/2013
Image of Indian girls at school.
Although Indian law made child marriage illegal in 2007, many underage girls are still forced into marriage across the nation, placing them under great emotional stress and potentially jeopardizing their health.

According to the International Center for Research on Women, if present trends of child marriage in India continue, more than 142 million girls worldwide will be forced into early marriage during the next decade — the equivalent of 38,000 girls every day.

Child Marriage: A Widespread Practice

As in many other nations, an individual in India is considered a minor if he or she is under the age of 18. However, girls are coerced into marriage at much younger ages. According to UNICEF, around one-third of women ages 20 to 24 in the developing world were married as children. Child marriage is also common in other South Asian countries and some African nations.

Girls forced into early marriage face many challenges. Often they must drop out of school to raise children, which diminishes their future opportunities. And depending on the girls' developmental stage, pregnancy can be a tremendous physical burden. More than 70,000 girls aged 15 to 19 die due to complications relating to childbirth every year. Even children whose mothers survive face challenges of their own, including being underweight and suffering delayed physical and cognitive development.

Making Changes

Young girls' futures depend on a halt to the harmful practice of child marriage, and ChildFund is doing what it can to inform girls and provide them with educational opportunities. We need your help.

Poverty is a major contributing factor in child marriage. Girls from low-income families lacking access to education are more than twice as likely to be married to adult men, while girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to be forced into early marriages. For these reasons, ChildFund works in communities across India to provide children and families with the resources they need to emerge from poverty and forge better lives for themselves.

To help us bring hope to a young girl's life, please consider sponsoring a child or making a donation to our Dream Bike campaign that provides girls with a means of transportation to school.