Essay on Child Marriage: A banned social practice in India where young girls below adolescent age are married off to older men with or without their consent is called child marriage. India has set the record for the 14th highest rate of child marriages globally. Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are child marriage hotspots in the country. Poverty, social customs and traditions are the main reasons for the existence of child marriages even today.
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Essay on Child Marriage 500 Words in English
Below we have provided Child Marriage Essay in English, suitable for class 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10.
Child marriage is a marriage that takes place either between two children or an adult and a child. In most cases, the adult is a man, and the child is a small girl. Child marriage was common throughout history, but it is still prevalent in developing countries. In a survey, it was found that in countries like Niger and Bangladesh, around 20 percent of the girls under the age of 15 are married. The legal age for marriage in India for women is 18, and for men, it is 21. Many organisations like UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Funds) and CRY (Child Rights and You) are working towards preventing child marriage.
Causes of Child Marriage
Child marriage is sometimes simply followed as a tradition. People follow the practice just because it has been going on from generations in their community. In many countries, there still exists prominent gender inequality. Girls are considered a burden on their family. They are bounded by patriarchal values. Child marriage is more widespread among people who live in poverty. They feel that by marrying their daughter young, they would have one less person to educate, feed and clothe.
Impact of Child Marriage
Child marriage can have serious negative repercussions on the physical as well as the mental health of a girl. It denies her fundamental rights that every person is entitled to include the right to education, the right to rest and leisure and the right to protection from sexual abuse and exploitation. When girls are married young, they are forced to take up household responsibilities. This deprives them of a chance to educate and empower themselves. They remain dependent on their male counterparts throughout their life.
The most physiologically and psychologically draining situation for a young girl is if she attains early motherhood. It is found that girls below the age of 15 who give birth are five times more likely to die during delivery than those who are above the age of 20. The bodies of these girls are not even fully developed and capable of giving birth at such a tender age. This puts the health of the mother and the child in grave danger.
There have been more studies on how child marriage affects young girls and very few on how it distresses young boys. However, two main adverse effects of child marriage on boys are related to education and poverty. As soon as boys get married, they are burdened with the responsibility of supporting their new family. Because of this, they stop their education and take up menial jobs that do not even pay well. This behaves like a vicious cycle of poverty.
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Realising the plight of young brides and grooms, the government of India came out with The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in the year 2006. Under this act, the legal age to get married is 21 for males and 18 for females. In case an adult is found marrying a girl below the age of 18, he will be severely punished. In cases where two minor children are forcibly married, the punishment will fall upon their parents or legal guardians. Punishment includes a fine up to Rs. 1 Lakh and imprisonment for up to 2 years.
Ways to Prevent Child Marriage
To stop this practice of forced marriage, not only girls, but even their parents should be made aware of the negative consequences that child marriage brings with it. The thinking of parents that a daughter is a burden on the family needs to be changed. This mindset has a very negative impact on the self-esteem of the girl. Girls should be encouraged to make themselves literate and independent. They should be given the opportunity of getting empowered and living life on their own terms.
In many countries where child marriage is prevalent, the voice and opinions of women are curbed. But this is precisely the place where the representation of more and more women is needed. Seeing women take up essential roles will make the young girls want to pursue something more. On our part, each of us can help organisations and people that are working towards ending this societal evil by contributing and donating.