This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by PRATYeK NINEISMINE. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How Can India Prosper If Its Girls Are Married Away As Child Brides?

More from PRATYeK NINEISMINE

Canadian High CommissionEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #EveryGirlInSchool, a campaign by the High Commission of Canada, Nutrition International and Youth Ki Awaaz to advocate for equal opportunities for girls in India. Join the conversation by publishing a story here.

By Aditi Salkar: 

For most of us, a wedding day is something to look forward to. To plan and prepare. Or something to look back with fond memories of a choice once made. But not for Anjali.

Anjali loved to study and dreamed of becoming a doctor. Going to school was the only thing that made her happy, gave her hope. But when she was 14, and just after she got her periods, her parents told her she had to quit school and that she was too old for school. Her parents convinced her that getting married is the right thing to do and forced her to marry a man who was almost a decade older than her, whom she never met before. From wanting to be a doctor all she is now is a child bride.

Number of Child Brides in India

Violence against women and girls is a global problem that affects millions of women every year. In fact, it is estimated that one in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. Child marriage is a manifestation of that violence. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That’s one girl every 2 seconds. Child marriage puts women and girls at particular risk of sexual, physical and psychological violence throughout their lives.

While no extensive research has been done on the causes, the reasons across regions given were:

  • Poverty and economic transactions
  • Subjugation of women
  • Patriarchal attitudes towards women and regulation of their lives
  • The belief that girls are ready to get married after menarche (first period)
  • Culture and Tradition
  • Lack of education
  • Gender discrimination
  • Lack of employment or unemployment
  • Lack of transportation and basic amenities in school
  • Social as well as economic protection
Child Marriage in India, State-wise Statistics

When global development professionals talk about child marriage and how to eradicate it, they often focus on health and societal consequences, like how early marriage rises a girl’s risk of dying during childbirth or how child marriage perpetuates poverty, etc. However, other serious health effects of child marriage — like depression and anxiety — tend to get overlooked.

Child marriage had a significant impact on not just women’s but also men’s psychological well-being. Being forced into marriage (often to a stranger) and the burden of marital responsibilities, most notably partner’s sexual demands and childbearing and child-rearing, lead to significant emotional distress and depression. Mental health implications may include a sense of worthlessness, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Effects of early marriages can lead to several psychological illnesses and disorders such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, manic disorders, dissociative disorders, etc.  

Due to early marriages, young children are denied an appropriate childhood and adolescence while they are forced to grow up and act in a mature way. Denying young children their childhood hampers their overall growth and development because of which they don’t have the ability to deal with responsibilities, early pregnancy and pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity, causing major physiological and psychological health issues, resulting in losing relationship confidence and ability to maintain a healthy relationship.

Child marriages rob children of their sense of empowerment and personal identity; also an incomplete education leads to lack of employment and career prospects – all of which contribute to the cyclical nature of poverty, gender inequality and child marriage.

The Effects of Child Marriage

Child Marriage is a major psychological trauma and a menace that cannot be curbed without support from the society. Mere legislation will not serve the purpose unless there is support and backing from the society. How can a country prosper when a section of young women and men are confined by prejudice of the society and the only thing expected from them is rearing and caring of children? What is required on the part of the citizens and the government in general is to join hands and raise a movement so wide that every child is made aware of their rights and everyone in society knows the repercussions of child marriage.

What are the Laws Against Child Marriage in India?

Is child marriage a criminal offence? YES! Can one be punished for abetting in or being associated with a child's marriage? Absolutely!Find out about the act in place for child marriage in India and what is the price one needs to pay when one violates this act. It's time we #EndChildMarriage! Are you with us? Share this video!#FreetoBeAChildUNICEF India UFO Digital Cinema नवी उमेद Navi UmedShaishav Child Rights Child line Pratham Books Child Rights Connect Child Rights Movement Aarambh – An Initiative Against Child Sexual Abuse Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India

Posted by Nine is Mine on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

If we work together to tackle child marriage, we can create a world where children are empowered, in charge of their own destinies, and able to live their lives free from violence. This is a world that makes all of us better off.

NineisMine, with the support of UNICEF India, is running a campaign to spread awareness about child marriage in India and its solutions. Follow along the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The author is a Psychotherapist at PRATYeK.

You must be to comment.

More from PRATYeK NINEISMINE

Similar Posts

By Richa Tyagi

By Jagisha Arora

By Ratna Kumari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below