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Over one third of Indian women married in childhood: UN Report

According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2024, the number of girls who fell prey to child marriage stands at 64 crore globally, of which one third of the cases belong to India alone.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 16:36 IST

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In an alarming revelation, a recently published United Nations report has said that more than one third (20 crore) of the female population of India was married off in childhood. According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2024, the number of girls who fell prey to child marriage stands at 64 crore globally, of which one third of the cases belong to India alone.

The report emphasizes that harmful practices pertaining to gender inequality are declining globally, but not at rates keeping up with population growth. While 25 years ago, one in four girls was married before turning 18, the numbers have come down to one in five in 2024.

6.8 crore child marriages were averted in this period, it said.

According to the 2011 Census data, there were more than 58 crore females in the country, of which 1.2 crore were married between the age of 10 to 19 years. A UNICEF report in 2023 had pointed out that one in three of the world’s child brides live in India.

No Census has been conducted in the country since then, however, according to an estimate of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the female population in India stands at more than 65 crore in 2024. Considering these figures and the the United Nations report, approximately 21.6 crore Indian women were married in childhood.

The report also sheds light at pay gap between male and female populations. Women spend 2.5 times more hours a day on unpaid domestic and care work than men.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve gender equality by the year 2030. However, the report suggested that at the current rate of improvement, it will take 176 years to achieve parity.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has suggested three actions to improve the rate of progress in achieving the sustainable development goal, namely peace, solidarity and surge in implementation.

"The underpinning all our efforts must be a more concerted effort to dismantle gender barriers and empower all women and girls – because we cannot expect to achieve the Goals without gender equality," he said.

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Published 01 July 2024, 16:36 IST

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