2012 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, 1st prize

Child Brides


Stephanie Sinclair

VII Photo Agency for <em>National Geographic</em> magazine

26 April, 2010

Radha (15) observes herself in a mirror, on the day before her wedding.

About the photographer

Stephanie Sinclair

After university, Sinclair worked for the Chicago Tribune, which sent her to cover the lead up to the war in Iraq. She later moved to the Middle East covering the region for six ...

Background story

Delhi, India

Radha (15) observes herself in a mirror, on the day before her wedding. She was married together with her sisters Gora (13) and Rajni (5) to three brothers, on the same day. Indian legislation forbids child marriage, but the practice continues to be accepted among large sections of society.

Every year, all over the world, millions of girls below the age of 18 undergo marriages initiated by their families. The tradition of child marriage spans continents, religion, and class. Girls who marry early often abandon their education. The incidence of maternal and infant death is high for women who give birth under the age of 18. Child marriages often take place in defiance of national laws, and despite education programs about health issues. They are seen as an economic necessity in some regions, or are deeply ingrained in local culture.

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