Child marriage, considered a human rights violation, is a prevalent phenomenon in India that many activists have been fighting against. Now, a report by the International Center for Research on Women states that the prevalence of this is 60% in the state of Bihar.
Currently, there are 70 million child brides in the world and this social practice has profound consequences on the economic and social aspects of the country. The report titled ‘More Power To Her’ says that the prevalence of child marriage in India is 47%. In Bihar, this shoots up to 60%. Economic factors like financial concerns and dowry drives parents in the state to get their daughters married earlier rather than later (especially when they have more than one daughter), says the report. The dowry is lesser for younger girls and this also contributes to parents getting their daughters married off earlier. The child brides are also often not told about their marriage.
One of the respondents from Bihar is quoted in the report as saying, “In many families, the financial situation is so bad that they have to marry the girl somehow, to anybody who comes their way. Nobody thinks about how the girl would lead her life if the man or his family isn’t suitable. This is the problem in our society, nobody thinks of how the girl would manage.”
The report also adds that in the study conducted in Bihar many respondents spoke about girls’ increasing aspirations and the growing equality between boys and girls.
The report states that child marriages can be tackled by empowering girls with giving them information and knowledge about themselves (sexual and reproductive health) and the environment; providing education and livelihood opportunities; building family and community support; and promoting an equitable relationship between men and women.