What decides women’s marital age — wealth, education or caste | Data Point podcast

Experts argue that the notion that increased age of marriage for women will inevitably result in greater empowerment, autonomy, and freedom for them, is problematic.

Updated - June 30, 2023 07:23 pm IST

Published - March 02, 2023 11:37 am IST

Last month, the Assam government began an intense crackdown on child marriage. This got the debate going with social activists, who pointed out that the root of the problem — limited access to education among women — is still not being addressed. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data shows that higher education levels appear to play a greater role than wealth, in delaying a woman’s marriage. It also showed wide variations in marital age between rural and urban women, Dalit and upper-caste women. In this episode, Mary E John and Rajni Palriwala discuss the role that wealth, education and caste play in determining women’s marital age.  


Mary E John: Formerly Professor, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies and author of “Child Marriage in an International Frame: A Feminist Review from India” 

Rajni Palriwala: Former Professor of Sociology, University of Delhi  

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