Essay on Child Marriage

Free 700 words essay on Child Marriage for school and college students.

Child marriage shouldn’t possibly a problem discussed in the 21st century. Unfortunately, this social evil hasn’t been rooted out and still haunts rural circles across the world, especially India. Although a violation of fundamental human rights, child marriage is deplorably common. More than 700 million women today across the world are married off before the age of 18. A majority of these adolescent girls have husbands 10 years elder to them. Almost half of the child brides live in South Asia, one-third of them residing in India. The highest rates of child marriage are found in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Free Essay on Child Marriage

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The ten countries with highest rates of child marriage are Nepal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Central African Republic, Mali, Chad, Bangladesh, and Niger. Girls are always at the receiving end of this nefarious problem, and especially the impoverished ones. This problem is common in rural areas. Wealthiest women marry four years later than poor women in countries such as Dominican Republic and India. A vicious cycle, this issue is intergenerational and prevalent among the socially isolated communities. Child brides tend to have lower levels of education, making them unaware and susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases. Eventually, they end up having children of their own at a tender age. Poverty which denies them human rights, also make them likely to receive medical care during pregnancy.

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These problems are not limited to physical pressure, rather takes a toll on the psychological health of girls. They suffer from traumatic societal isolation, loss of educational and employment opportunities, increased risk of domestic violence, and a holistic compromise on the development of cognitive intelligence. Since the law prohibits statutory approval to marriages of girls below 18 officially, the informal recognition brings with itself other problems related to inheritance, citizenship, recognition, etc.

Child marriage is a blatant denial of rights to women. Girls are treated as a burden in poor families and this toxicity strips them of their freedom and self-esteem. Girls often face problems such as limited educational opportunities, infrastructural deficits, transport problems, the threat of sexual violence, the perception of being treated as a liability with short economic roles, increase of dowry along with age incentivizing child marriage, weak law enforcement, and virtually no benefits from social protection programmes.

Attempts have been made to address this issue in several international conventions and agreements. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women covers the right to protection from child marriage in article 16, which states: “The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage….” Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes indirectly that forced marriages are a violation of human rights. Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa are some other practices and obligations nations must adhere to. The International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 also called on countries to eliminate child marriage.

The United Nations Population Fund has suggested some simple yet effective measures that can help stem this reprehensible problem without amplifying the inequalities. All commitments and human rights obligations must be met without fail. Barriers to access to sexual and reproductive health must be brought down. Life-saving pre-natal and ante-natal care must reach the poorest of poor women. Basic income security to women, universal social protection, stepped-up capital investments in girls and women, progressive policies to augment female participation in the labor force that would bolster empowerment, and strengthening of links between data and public policy.

UNICEF suggests law enforcement, empowerment of girls, community mobilization, and promotion of convergence, at all levels in a mission mode. The implementation of a national strategy revolving around these recommendations is sure to show some progress. The Middle East and North Africa have made the fastest progress in reducing child marriage. UNICEF has calculated that precision and commitment to this cause if accelerated, there will be 1 in 10 child brides in the world by 2050 compared to 1 in 4 today.

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