History & Culture

The legal age for marriage increased to 21 for women in India

The legal age for marriage increased to 21 for women in India

The NDA govt led by PM Narendra Modi raised the legal age for marriage to 21 for women in India. 

Child marriage is an age-old tradition causing hindrance for women across the country. 

As per NFHS-5 2019-2021, 14.7% of women under 18 are married in urban areas. At the same time, 27% belonged in the rural areas. 

Furthermore, at the time of the survey, 15-19-year-old women were already pregnant or mothers. 

As per the survey, 3.8% of women were in urban areas and 7.9% in rural areas. 

Will the rise in legal age for marriage for women abolish child marriage practices?

Mahima, a 16-year-old from Bihar, was married under the Covid umbrella. 

She says while expecting her first child, “the schools were closed, I had nothing to do at home. Moreover, you don’t get such an ideal groom that easily these days.”

“He brought me to Delhi, he works as an AC fitter and I have taken up a job in a beauty salon.”

Now, Mahima awaits to turn 18 to receive a legal marriage certificate. 

Nevertheless, various govt acts and rules managed to suppress or hide child marriage while it remains prevalent. 

Child marriage acts vs. increase in legal age for marriage

As per a report by Pew Research Center, various countries have a legal marriage age of 18 for both genders. 

The list of countries includes Germany, Australia, Russia, Israel, Hungary, Finland, Switzerland, Greece, Iceland, and France. 

While in 1978, the Child Marriage Restraint Act aimed to increase the legal age for marriage to 18, the primitive practice of child marriage continues even today. 

The legal age for marriage for women in the 19th century began anywhere between the age of 10-15 years. 

However, in 2006 the govt of India replaced the Prevention of Child Marriage Act with a motto of abolishing child marriage. 

Government’s initiative to empower women

PM Narendra Modi’s increased legal age for marriage to 21 empowers women across the country. 

The increased legal age for marriage will bring women afoot with men and motivate them to build their careers. 

Even so, as women across India rejoice, various experts believe the proposed legislation may turn out as futile. 


While experts contemplate the proposed legislation, the increased age for legal marriage for women is an instrument for the country’s growth. 

As women become empowered and focus on their careers, the economy is bound to benefit. 

Also Read – Tripura govt gives 33% reservation to all women

Johannah is a passionate traveler. She is seeking remote places across India and exploring the benefits of being a Nomad. She has completed her bachelor's in Psychology Hons and diploma in Graphology. Being able to write helps her to share her experiences and be independent to travel anywhere.

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