Child Marriage in India Essay

4548 Words Mar 18th, 2011 19 Pages
Child Marriage in India
If you have any questions regarding this information, feel free to email Juliana Shulman at:
JShulman@uchicago.edu
To be defined at length in a later section, child marriage is most simply, for our purposes, a marriage in which the wife is below the age of eighteen at the time of consummation. The practice of child marriage in rural India is deeply rooted in cultural values and grounded in social structures. And despite laws that prohibit child marriage, the practice is still extremely prevalent in many regions. Though the statistics are contentious, it is estimated that in some parts of India, like the state of Rajasthan, nearly
80 percent of the marriages are among girls under the age of fifteen” (Gupta,
…show more content…
The National Family
Health Survey reports that only 19% of ever-married rural Rajasthani women aged 15-49 had ever heard of AIDS, compared to 65% of their male counterpart. Aside from the gender discrepancy of knowledge across India, however, a rural/urban dichotomy was especially pronounced among women (2005-2006 National Family-Rajasthan; 2005-2006
National Family-India).
This lack of knowledge unsurprisingly also appears to influence behavior. Among currently married rural women, aged 15-49, only 38% used any “modern method” of family planning, compared to 55.8% of their urban counterparts. More importantly, only
3.1% of married rural women have used a condom (the only method in the analysis that would protect against HIV), compared to 13.3% of urban married women. Furthermore, only 14.7% of ever-married rural women (ages 15-49) knew that consistent condom use can reduce the changes of HIV/AIDS, in comparison to 61.6% of their urban counterparts
(2005-2006 National Family-Rajasthan; 2005-2006 National Family-India).
A recent New York Times article reports that the rural problem of HIV is made more pronounced by the difficulties that HIV-positive people in rural communities face when attempting to get tested and treated. Many patients travel long distances each month to receive government-sponsored antiretrovirals, but the cost and time required for such a journey is difficult for many to

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