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

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

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.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.