- GS-1: Social Empowerment
- GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Child Marriages and Pandemic
Context: The Global Girlhood Report 2020 says that at least half-a-million girls are now at risk of being victims of forced child marriages as this year comes to an end. Up to 2.5 million girls may be married early due to the pandemic over the next five years, says a Save the Children report.
Pandemic & Child Marriages
- Increased poverty is directly related to child marriage: In pandemic induced economic distress, vulnerable families are forced to choose between a girl child and the prospect of hunger & deprivation. A girl child is considered a burden, making her vulnerable to early marriage
- Marriage seen as safety net: One reason, cited by parents, in several surveys is that marriage is way of ensuring the girl child’s safety at a time when many young men are out of jobs and seen as posing a danger to young girls.
- Interrupted Education: With so much uncertainty about when schools will reopen, there is every likelihood of girls not returning to school and this increases the danger of their being married early.
- Lack of access to counsellor: Without the safety net of schools, the girl child being forced into marriage is cut off from any possible communication with a teacher or counselor. Most of them do not have access to child helplines though the government has set these us.
Consequences of Child Marriages
- Child marriage is not only a violation of girls’ human rights and their children’s, but also represents a substantial economic burden for countries (early child marriage => tendency for more children => higher population growth)
- Child brides are often robbed of their rights to safety and security, to health and education, and to make their own life choices and decisions
- Child marriage brings with it the prospect of early pregnancy whereby the life of the girl and her unborn child are at much greater risk.
- Early marriage heightens the risk of domestic slavery, spousal violence and poor health with girls married under the age of 15 almost 50% more likely to have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence
Connecting the dots: