An estimated 4.5 million girls in India within the age group of 15-19 years become pregnant or already turn mothers, according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-2016 data. Education can significantly play the role of a game-changer when it comes to adolescent girls getting married off and having children before they are ready, both physically and mentally, Child Rights and You (CRY) said in a release on the occasion of Mother's Day today. The NFHS 4 data showed that stunting (low height-for-age) among children whose mothers had no education was 51 per cent, whereas prevalence of stunting reduced to 31 per cent among children whose mothers had completed school education, the CRY release said pointing out how education is important for empowering women. Referring to the 2011 census, CRY said "There are over 13 million adolescent girls who are married between 10 to 19 years of age and a staggering 3.8 million adolescent girls having children and shouldering the responsibilities of motherhood." "Access to affordable secondary education is extremely critical in order to empower girls since it not only lowers the probability of child marriage, but has a direct impact on their life choices, their own health and the health of their children," Director, Policy Research and Advocacy of CRY, Komal Ganotra, said. "It is a cycle of positive change as education will also empower girls to stand up for their rights.
Our experience on ground has shown how access to schools has transformed the lives of girls in entire communities," Ganotra said.