According to a UNICEF report, 30 percent of adolescent girls in India are married and at least 22 percent became mothers before hey attained adulthood. In comparison, only five percent of male adolescents were married. The report also says that 47 percent of women in the 20-24 years age group got married before they turned 18. Fifteen percent women got married even before they attained the age of 15 years.
The "Progress for Children" report that details findings of a worldwide survey conducted during 2000-2010 was published by UNICEF on April 26, 2012. The report tries to understand what adolescents do, where they live, what problems do they face and how their needs are - or are not - being met. The objective of the report is to understand adolescents in all their diversity as it is fundamental to improving their lives.
According to the report, India is home to more adolescents – around 243 million – than any other country.
The report further states that about eight percent of female adolescents in the 15-19 age group in India had sex before the age of 15, as compared to only three percent of male adolescents. The young women in the poorest households are seven times more likely to give birth before the age of 18 than young women from the richest households.
India, Bangladesh and Nigeria together account for one in every three of the world’s adolescent births. The only industrialised nation among the top ten with the highest number of adolescent births is the United States.
The report shockingly reveals that 57 percent male adolescents aged in the 15-19 age bracket think that husbands are justified in beating their wives under certain circumstances. What is more surprising is that even 53 percent female adolescents think so. The reasons cited by these girls for justifying wife-beating are interesting. According to them, it’s okay for a husband to beat his wife if she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, or refuses sexual relations.
The report suggests that societal attitudes that convey acceptance or justification of domestic violence may make girls and women more vulnerable to becoming victims.
Nearly 50 percent of India’s adolescent girls are underweight with a body mass index of less than 18.5.
The UNICEF report also states that 12 percent of children in India were involved in child labour.
The report concludes that many adolescents are alive today as a result of the significant drop in the child mortality rate since 1990. Globally, more children are enrolled in school today than any generation of children before them. But the benefits of progress have not been equally shared among all adolescents. Economic growth has not always been equitable, and the benefits have not necessarily accrued to the poorest and the most marginalized.
Adolescents are defined by the United Nations as those between the age of 10 and 19.
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