The Union cabinet recently cleared a proposal to raise the legal age of marriage for women to 21 but activists aren’t supportive of it.

Representative image for newly wedIMAGE FOR REPRESENTATION
news Women’s empowerment Saturday, December 18, 2021 - 12:03

The Union cabinet cleared a proposal to increase the legal age of marriage for women in India from 18 to 21. This means the legal age of marriage for both men and women in India will be the same. The Union government says raising the marriageable age to 21 will empower women and improve the health of young mothers and their babies. The cabinet clearance comes months after a panel led by former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly was formed to examine whether the age of marriage had an impact on infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate among others.

But women’s rights activists in India aren’t supportive of the move and say it will hurt the rights of women. They argue increasing the legal age of marriage will make women more vulnerable to parental control. And that it will be parents and culture warriors who are against women marrying outside their caste and religion who will be happy.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cited malnutrition among young women as a reason to increase the marriageable age, activists point out that a woman who is malnourished will face health problems during pregnancy - whether she is 18 or 21.

In this episode of ‘Let me explain’, TNM’s Anna Isaac lists out the arguments on both sides of the debate.