India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been considering to raise Indian women’s legal age for marriage. According to State Bank of India (SBI)’s report, raising the legal age for women in a marriage is not only good for women’s welfare but also beneficial for the economy of India. How so? Find out why below.
India to push marriage legal age for women
According to Mint, the legal marriage age for Indian women is currently 18 years old. Last July, a 10-member task force led by Jaya Jaitley was established to convince a change in the age. The plan is to push the legal marriage age for women to 21 years old. If India proceeds with the plan, the country will be up in the same league as China, Japan and Singapore.
At the moment, at least 35% of Indian women are married before the age of 21 years old. West Bengal has the most cases with almost 47% of women married before 21 years old. The average age for marriage in West Bengal is 20.9 years old.
Increased legal marriage age on women’s welfare and India’s economy
Soumya Kanti Ghosh, an economist with SBI, further explained on a report how a simple change on women’s legal marriage age could benefit women, and also India. Quoted from Mint, Ghosh entitles the report as “Increasing the legal age of women marriage: A dominant strategy for societal good, financially empowering women,”.
Through the report, Ghosh elaborated that women who marry at a later age have a lesser chance of maternal deaths. It also brings a better nutritional level on women. Additionally, A later marriage age can also give women the benefit of pursuing higher education and careers. Thus, in the long-term, the decision can help women to become more financially independent.
Ghosh also presented in the report that with higher marriage age, the working-age population also raises. This does not only help India move the economy, but it also helps build the country into a more egalitarian society in thinking.