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Increasing Women's Minimum Age for Marriage: Will it Prevent Child Marriage?

Can raising the minimum legal age of marriage benefit women and girls?

Published
Podcast
1 min read

India is still struggling to put an end to child marriages in the 21st century. But is raising the minimum legal age of marriage for women the solution?

Ever since the Centre indicated its intention, to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years of age, there has been a lot of conversation around this move.

And now a year later, on Thurdsay, 16 December, the Union Cabinet has officially cleared the proposal.

This has been done on the basis of recommendations from a special task force set up by the DCW. Although details of the panel's report isn't available in the public domain yet, the main rationale for this proposal has been to address the physiological and psychological issues that arise from child marriages in the form of early pregnancies, poor nutrition levels, high infant mortality rate, high maternal mortality rates, etc — all of which are ultimately deleterious for women's progress.

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While a lot of people have welcomed the move, the opinion is divided with some also cautioning that this decision could backfire.

But what are the concerns here exactly? In what way can raising the minimum legal age of marriage backfire? In this episode, we'll take a full-rounded look at this proposal, the reasons behind it and also the criticisms against it.

Our guests for today's podcast are Madhu Mehra, lawyer and founding member of Partners for Law in Development (PLD) and Amita Pitre, Lead Specialist, Gender Justice at Oxfam India.

Tune in!

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