37% girls marry before 18 in Orissa: UNICEF

Over 37 per cent girls marry before 18 years and 13 per cent young men also tie the knot before 21 in Orissa.

Bhubaneswar: Over 37 per cent girls marry
before 18 years and 13 per cent young men also tie the knot
before 21 in Orissa.

This was stated by Shairose Mawji, the chief of Unicef
in the state while addressing a function marking release of
State of the World`s Children report.
"This has serious repercussions particularly on the
health of young women when we consider child birth," she said
adding over 14 per cent women aged 15-19 years were already
mothers or pregnant at the time of National Family Health
Survey (NFHS-III) in 2005-06.

A leading reason for all this is lack of education
especially among young women, she pointed out adding in rural
parts of the state, girls are less likely to attend school
than boys and this gap increases by age.

"Between the age of 6-10 years, 86 per cent boys and
82 per cent girls attend school. But by the age of 15-17, only
32 per cent boys and 13 per cent girls continue their
education," the state Unicef chief said quoting the report.

Without education, adolescents cannot develop
knowledge and skills they need to navigate the risks of
exploitation, abuse and violence that are at height during the
second decade of their life, she said.?

In terms of information among Orissa`s adolescents and
youths of 15-24 years of age, as per the report, only about 73
per cent had heard about AIDS while only 25 per cent males and
11 per cent females had correct and comprehensive knowledge of
The Unicef state chief, however, said that the state
government had successfully reduced infant mortality rate by
more than 25 points since 2001, one of the highest drops by
any state in the country.

"We have also seen good progress in securing primary
education for both boys and girls in Orissa," she said.

Addressing the gathering, governor M C Bhandare said
there had been change in the mindset of the people in the
state as more and more girls are taking education. "Girls are
shining everywhere," she said.


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