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Year : 1988  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 166-169
Age At Marriage, Gauna (Effective Marriage) And First Child Birth In Rural Women- Changing Pattern In Various Marriage Cohorts By Decades

Correspondence Address:
Neeraj K Sethi

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Fertility patterns of a community depend upon several factors. Strict enforcement of legislation is amongst its important determinants. The Government proposes to enact a deterrent law, which will replace the loophole – ridden Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1978. In India, there exists a long established custom to enter into effective marriage several years after marriage. This is called ‘gauna’. Studying the various marriage cohorts by decades, the present communication comments on the age at marriage, age at gauna and age at first childbirth amongst 843 rural women in Delhi. The study shows that over the last six decades, there has been a gradual rise of age at marriage from 10.5 years to 16.5 years. However, this slope is less steep with age at gauna and almost non- existent for age at first childbirth. This in turn has narrowed the gap between age at gauna and age at first childbirth. Age at first childbirth has remained more or less constant at 19-20 years. This fining, if corroborated elsewhere also, may be of great significance and raise questions on the validity of the current strategy of increasing marriage age to 18 years in order to reduce fertility.

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  2007 - Indian Journal of Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
  Online since 15th September, 2007