By Merril Diniz:
Over 700 million women across the world marry before the age of 18, and one in nine are married before the age of 15. How does India fare in the area of early marriage? And what are the other areas where a child’s fate is determined by her gender? Sadly there’s a long list. Child marriage especially gives girl children extremely limited autonomy over their own lives. Adolescent pregnancy often results in exclusion from education, social stigmatisation and poverty. Trafficking and slavery of young girls is a growing concern, with many being lured by false expectations and coercion. When it comes to child labour, many girls are not paid for their labour. Neither are they in school, which makes their future prospects, extremely bleak.
According to #EveryLastGirl, a report by Save The Children that explores the state of the girl child across the world, India features at 90th place on the Girls’ Opportunity Index. The index is based on five parameters – child marriage, adolescent fertility, maternal mortality, women MPs and lower secondary school comparison. Sweden comes in at first place, the UK at 15th place, upcoming economy Tunisia at 33rd place, and Brazil at 102nd. Amongst our neighbours, we have Pakistan at 88, Sri Lanka at 60, Nepal at 65 and Bhutan at 80.
The infographic below indicates in more detail the specifics on India’s girl children, whose voice is drowned in the quagmire of gender injustices. Let’s speak out against the inequities that affect #EveryLastGirl.