Child marriage and early childbearing: from evidence to action
India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 47% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. The incidence of early childbearing is also high. According to UNICEF 2012 figures, one in six girls between 15 and 19 years old have already given birth to their first child. Almost 60% married girls in the Young Lives study have already given birth by the age of 19 years.
Nevertheless, the last two decades have witnessed declining rates of child marriage and early childbearing. But rates are still high and the pace of decline is incredibly low in some states in the country.
Recently the Young Lives team in India brought together policy-makers, government representatives, academic researchers and NGOs to learn from two pieces of research; the findings from our longitudinal research on child marriage and early childbearing in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; and findings from a survey by the Institute of Fiscal Studies on the PANKH programme (Promoting Adolescents' Knowledge,Engagement and Health) in Dholpur, north Rajasthan, which was implemented by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Pradan.