It's The 21st Century That We Are Living In, Shouldn't We Prevent Child Marriages At Least Now?

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India last year, we realized that the little progress we had made in providing justice to our children, particularly girls, over the last decade, was already being demolished and shattered as families began experimenting with the effects of the pandemic.

Relatively early, almost at the outbreak of the pandemic, there was an awareness and a disclosure of the devastating outcomes that it would have on girls from marginalized populations for a long time to come. Nonetheless, one such terrible consequence is child marriage. Yes, again.

Facts About Child Brides’ Lives In India

It is a terrible reality that even before the COVID-19 outbreak and global lockdown, girls in India were compelled into child marriage. You shouldn’t be shocked that one in three of the world’s child brides resides in India. However, to make it even worse, there has been a rise in child marriages in India, and the purposes and the data for that are so documented. For instance, as per the Childline surveys, there was a 17 percent rise in distress alarms correlated to an earlier wedding of girls in June and July 2020, approximated to 2019. This increase in child marriage is due to the assumption that it will rescue the family from economic difficulty.

More than a year into the pandemic, our administration networks remain to be overburdened, institutes stay shut, and economic stress seems endless. The disaster of child marriage deserves revived awareness and necessity. But is that adequate?

  • Create Social Equity

It has been believed that the struggle of preventing harm cannot happen amidst a crisis, especially when systems are both formal and informal and are dropping apart or unresponsive. This assumption is central to the strategy and thus a crucial emphasis is to stimulate and create a backing system with a distinct range of stakeholders around volunteers, all of whom are helping towards a broad goal.

The social capital that is created in the organizations for assistance, cooperation, and effort is now vital to the precluding of early marriages.

  • Leverage The Power Of Dialogue And Negotiation

Discussion, dialogues, recited conversations, negotiations so, all of the above were key components in the accomplishment of halting marriages. In 89% of the issues, volunteers used discussion and negotiation as the important step and major policy in altering the family’s judgments. In 7 issues, the girls themselves and who were also educated to have these conversations were thriving in delaying their own or their sibling’s wedding.

  • Enhance Girls’ Preparedness To Self-report

The safety of children is not their responsibility. The formal government system and adults in their lives must keep them comfortable and SAFE. Having said that, to entrust girls and carve their agency, they must have the proficiency, tools, and talents essential to keep themselves protected.

No questions, the above-mentioned policies are demanding and even harder to execute in the moment of this lockdown. However, the risks are too high for our girls, and preventing destruction before it occurs is significant and essential.  

Image courtesy: PIC

Udisha Srivastav is a Freelance Content Writer with