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Marriage Is Still Causing Discrimination To Women

Marriage Is Still Causing Discrimination To Women

Kamala Sarup

Many countries set a lower minimum age of marriage for females than for males. There are number of females for insisting that girls not be married until they reach sufficient age to to make an informed choice. The first is as a matter of basic human right, no person should under take such a momentous act without full knowledge of its import, and no child can understand the full social and physical import, and no child can understand the full social and physical import of marriage.

While marriage is almost universal for both men and women, men retain much greater power while searching for a spouse. A recognition of women's lack of power in marriage decisions is important from another perspective.

Statistics show that 18 percent of the girls in Asia, 16 percent in Africa and 8 percent in Latin America married by the age of 14. According to the progress of Nation reports " In 6 of the 21 sub-Saharan African countries surveyed, the average age of marriage was less than 18. In Bangladesh, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Yeman more than half of the young women interviewed were married by the time they were 16 years old. The highly gender discrimination Hindu marriage law permitted the marriage of a very young girls and a very old man.

Even in South Asia women are entitled to boldly integrity, within this principle, violence against women, forced early marriage and harmful practices are in practices. Statistics show that in Bangladesh 4 percent of girls are married before the age of 14. In Bhutan 4 percent, Maldives 12 percent, Nepal 40 percent Pakistan 4 percent and in Sri Lanka 0.2 percent. it is stated that nearly 7 percent of girls were found to be married before reaching the age of 10.

In Nepal the civil code of 1963 fixed the legal age for marriage of girls at 16 and made polygamy and child marriage illegal. The laws are also faulty and contradictory. The marriage Act, provision 6 of the civil code permits for the payment of dowry. There are extreme variations in the age of girls at marriage a low of 13.7 years for the Tarai district of Mahottari and a high of 25.8 years in the mountain district of Mustang have been recorded.

Urban women marry later than their rural counterparts the average age being 18.5 and 17.1 years respectfully. About 60 percent of the girls between the age of 15-19 years are married and 20 percent of the Nepalese women are married before the age of 15 and 40 percent by the age of 18. Marriage at an early age is still practiced in the rural areas.

Governments should take measures to combat early marriages and should be held accountable for failure to do so. Women must have rights to express their sexuality with pleasure and without fear, abuse or risk of diseases and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. The existing world order, which is based on injustice and unfair economic opportunities is to a greater extent responsible for the situation.

Early marriage can have several harmful effects on the overall well being of a girl child who is not mentally, psychologically, emotionally or physically prepared for a conjugal life. Like many rural women in developing world women attain status by marrying and producing many children preferably sons.


(A Phd student Kamala Sarup is editor of )

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