Identifying the policies that work best against child marriage
Despite significant progress against child marriage, it remains a huge challenge. Last year 320 lakh girls under 18 were married according to UNICEF estimates.
Despite a significant rise in the median age of marriage for boys and girls, India continues to demonstrate among the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world, accounting for over 40% of global child marriages. Andhra Pradesh is in the bottom quartile of the states across the country with data from the most recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4 2015/16) showing that 33% of women between the ages of 20-24 were still married before age 18.
Four policy interventions to address the problem of child marriages in Andhra Pradesh have been analyzed – bicycle transfers, conditional cash payments for secondary school attendance, the construction and maintenance of girls’ toilets in secondary schools and an 18-month vocational training programs.
Upcoming research by Reena V. Mithal from Sankhya Capital compares the benefits coming from both economic value derived from future employment and income opportunities, and social value resulting from a reduction in domestic violence, improvement in maternal and child health and lower rates of fertility with the costs of four policy intervention to address child marriage.
The paper argues that the most effective policy interventions to reduce child marriage are based on the economic empowerment of the girl child through secondary education and vocational training, qualifying her for employment and the creation of a sustainable income stream. . Building economic value for women creates behavior change with a multiplier effect."
Crime and Violence