Hyderabad: Eighty six per cent of child marriages in Telangana state is because of poverty, reveals a study conducted by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) along with the Mahita Foundation and Plan India.
According to the study, in Telangana state it is evident that tradition and social norms, economic insecurity, lack of access to secondary education and social pressure are the primary drivers of child marriages.
Also, the higher the educational qualification, the higher the dowry is a strong belief among most of the poor families. In most cases, biological maturity is given more importance than the age of the girl.
Mr Pruthvikar Reddy, assistant professor at CESS, who led the rapid research team said, “The cycle of inter-generational poverty also contributes to child marriages. Families with economic security prefer child marriages. For example, in places like Mahabubnagar district, where drought is more common and people migrate, to avoid the risks associated with leaving the young girls behind with grandparents, they prefer child marriages. This factor is again linked to poverty.”
In Telangana state, 25.7% of women aged between 20 and 24, were married before 18 years, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4 data. Of them, 15.7% are in the urban areas and 35% are in rural areas.
The study states that the factors that contribute to child marriages are complex and interrelated. Understanding the key driving factors is more important to address the issue at policy level.
Mr B.S. Ramulu, chairperson, Telangana state backward castes commission, said, “Empowerment of women is a must in order to eradicate child marriage menace from our country. In European countries, most of the women do not get married till the age of 30, till the time they settle in their careers. In our country, parents give importance to girl's marriage than her career.”