Image Credits - Indiawest.com
11th October has been marked annually as the The International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations. At the Knot Worldwide, we continue observing the International Day of the Girl Child in support of the United Nations. Our ever growing family of brands across 15 countries is honoured to help millions of couples plan their weddings and find the best wedding pros for the most important celebrations of their life. But according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16, 27% of girls in India are married before they turn 18 years old and India continues to have the highest absolute number of child brides in the world (over 15 million). These weddings are not a celebration - they mostly mark the end of a beginning for little girls who aspire to be so much more than just a man's 'baalika vadhu'. The number of child marriages in India is expected to rise significantly due to the devastating impact that COVID-19 is having on girls everywhere.
“In India, several families consider girls to be ‘paraya dhan’, meaning that a girl’s only purpose is to benefit her husband’s family and that when she comes of age, she has to be sent away for the same which means we should not keep them around for too long. When it comes to education, the sons in a family are given priority over daughters as they are primarily seen as caregivers to their ageing parents and expected to assume domestic responsibilities. However, child marriage erodes basic human rights extended to children, particularly girls, and derails their lives and hampers their future opportunities. Hence, WeddingWire India, a part of The Knot Worldwide, stands with VOW to cease child marriage and injustice towards girls in India, and across the world. It is time that they get their equal share and we end this discriminatory inhuman practice,” shares Ankur Sarawagi, India Country Head, The Knot Worldwide.
This day aims to help girls across the world live free from gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS and is dedicated to raising awareness about gender inequality. The Knot Worldwide aims to help girls access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection against violence and forced child marriage. 2020 marks the third year for The Knot Worldwide’s association with VOW To End Child Marriage (VOW) and bring the wedding industry together and collectively bolster their mission to end child marriage by 2030.
The institute of child marriage is never a decision that a girl gets to make. In most parts of India, the decision is made for her by her parents/relatives and she is forced into tying the knot with an elderly man either to pay off her parents' debts or because the family thinks that a girl is born to complete her man's life. We want every girl in India to be able to choose if, when and whom she wants to marry - without the sickening pressure of her parents or relatives who are willing to choke the girl's dreams and aspirations.
Here are 3 ways to get involved and help end child marriage: