The gang-rape of a veterinary doctor whose body was set ablaze and dumped under a bridge has sent shockwaves through India, with hundreds of women taking to the street in protest. Less than 24 hours of this incident, another charred body of a 35-year old woman was found in the same area. The gruesome nature of this crime has brought back the chilling memories of the Nirbhaya incident that took place in Delhi in December 2012. People from all walks of life have come together to demand capital punishment for the accused.
Child marriage is a global problem. Around 15 million girls become victims of child marriage every year across the world. The UN says that more than 21% of young women and 4% young men in the world were married before they turn 18. At present, 650 million girls and women alive were married before their 18th birthday. Africa has the most recorded marriages – more than 70% of its girl population. India contributes about 40% of child marriages across the globe. It is a global issue that is plaguing Nepal, Middle East, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is an issue even in developed countries like USA and UK. Massive efforts have been undertaken by countries and the UN to prevent child marriages. In the last decade, the proportion of women who were married as children decreased by 15%. Around 25 million child marriages were prevented in the last decade. South Asia showed the largest decline in the prevalence of child marriages. India too has seen a significant decline in the prevalence of child marriage. However, more efforts are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal within 2030.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi In his seventh Independence Day speech at Red Fort, stressed upon several aspects about the development of women in India including his government’s resolve to revise the minimum age at which women can legally get married in India. He has announced that the central government has set up a committee to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women, which are currently 18. Though there is ambiguity in available data, the recent trends show that in nearly one-third of marriages in India women are aged less than 21.