Skip to main content

Child marriages in India down by 20%, weddings delayed by 2.3 years where women are panchayat chiefs: Report

By Our Representative
A just-published paper, “Political role models and child marriage in India”, has concluded that the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, enacted in 1993, which stipulate reservation of pradhans’ positions in one-third of districts by rotation, has led to a situation where the “likelihood of child marriage decreases by 20 percentage points, and age at marriage increases by 2.3 years”, even as delaying the “gauna ceremony is delayed by 1.6 years.”
Authored by Prof Carolina Castilla of the Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, and supported United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research, the paper draws on data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), collected by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi, and researchers at the University of Maryland.
Castilla says, “In India, marriage traditions dictate that two ceremonies take place: the wedding and the gauna ceremony. These differ in timing and purpose. After the wedding, the bride and groom do not necessarily live together. The gauna ceremony indicates the start of marital life and the consummation of the marriage.”
The paper states, as women in local government are likely to discourage child marriage, even as encourage delay the age at first marriage and the gauna ceremony, the amendments have had “important policy implications for both the bride and her future children as it improves education, autonomy over fertility, and health. The results indicate that after 18 years of implementation, exposure to women in government can reduce the prevalence of child marriage.”
The paper says, “The legal minimum age of marriage in India is 18 and the minimum age of consent is 16. Yet the average age at first marriage in the sample is 17.6, with 46 percent reporting that they married before they turned 18. There is less than a year’s difference between age at marriage and gauna.”
The paper asserts, “There are statistically significant differences between women who married after the first election with reserved seats for women relative to both women in never-reserved districts and those who married before the first election with reserved seats. Women who married after being exposed to women Pradhans on an average married 1.8 years later, and delayed the gauna ceremony by 1.3 years.”
“Further”, it adds, “The prevalence of child marriage is 22 percentage points lower among women who married after the first election with women in local leadership positions.”
Pointing out how the amendments have worked over the years, the paper says, “Women in districts that held elections with reserved seats before to 2000 marry between 1.1 and 2.3 years later than women in the same district who married before the policy. Age at marriage increases by 0.6 to 1 year among women who married after the 2000 to 2003 elections, and increases by one additional year (1.3 to 1.9 years relative to the early elections) after the 2005 election.”
Similarly, the paper says, “After exposure to women in government, women delay their gauna ceremonies by 0.6 to 1.6 years. The effect of women Pradhans is larger among women who married between the 1997 and 2005 elections, and then increases once more after the 2006 to 2007 elections. There is evidence that the two different marriage ceremonies are converging. Age at marriage responds more to exposure to women Pradhans than age at gauna, which is expected as brides are more likely to be beyond the age of consent.”
Suggesting that the reservation policy has also impact socially backward communities, the paper says, “Women in backward and scheduled castes or tribes marry at a small but statistically younger age and have their gauna ceremonies earlier.” However, “the age at marriage increases by 4 months, and the likelihood of child marriage decreases by 5 percentage points” among them “after the first election under the policy”, though “age at gauna does not show any significant differences.”

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.