Marriage is the biggest reason why women migrate from one place to another. The findings from 2011 Census, which were published recently show that marriage made up for 46 percent of the total migrations in India, of which 97 percent are women. Marriage is perceived by many of us as something that impedes our individual growth. This is so because a number of girls have to drop out of the workforce following their marriage and are also not allowed to continue with their studies, especially in the rural areas. Though we are witnessing an appreciable rise in the number of literate women, being a girl in the rural areas still means that you have to indulge in household chores. “Isko to doosre hi ghar jana hai (She has to anyways go to some other home). This is what we have to hear most of the times.”, says Mala Pandey, a resident of Basti Village in Uttar Pradesh.

As many as 20.58 crore women in India migrated for marriage, the census data shows. The total population of married women is 29.3 crores which means, that around 70 percent women have to migrate because of marriage.

Lack Of Attention To Marriage Migration

“The lack of attention to marriage migration means that very little is known about its extent, geographical distribution, how it has changed over time, and its relationship with age, distance, caste, household consumption, and geography,” says Scott L. Fulford in a 2015 research paper titled “Marriage migration in India: Vast, Varied, and Misunderstood”.

Also Read: Should We Always See Marriage As A Constraint?

Some important takeaways:

  • Four of every ten Indians (453 million) are migrants, according to the Census Data. This is more than the combined population of the US, Germany, and Canada.
  • Marriage is the most common reason behind migration. Of all the Indians migrating for marriage, 97 percent are women. As many as 20.58 crore women in India migrated for marriage, the census data shows. The total population of married women is 29.3 crores which means that around 70 percent women have to migrate because of marriage.
  • Education accounted for only 1.2 percent of the total migrations. Most numbers of migrations were from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Though migration in general has no negative effect on the lives of people, migration due to marriage does has some negative reverberations.

Also Read: Around 137 Women Killed Globally Everyday Due To Domestic Violence

Correlation with Domestic Violence 

  • Migration also comes out to be a reason why women at most times, drop out of the workforce. According to Kavita Krishnan, social activist and secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, the condition of women who migrate for marriage is analogous to migrant labourers. “Such women feel vulnerable and socially isolated as they are not native to the place they shift to. They are often exploited by the husband and his family, not allowed to contact their natal families and their mobility is restricted. Domestic violence or abuse isn’t uncommon in this demographic either,” she says.
  • Migration due to marriage also results in an increase in domestic crimes against women, since most of the women migrating from rural areas are illiterate. When they migrate to the urban areas, they literally have no one to share their concerns with and become vulnerable to being ill-treated by the husband and his family.
  • “In states like Haryana, which have one of the world’s worst sex ratios (914 girls to 1,000 boys), brides are forcibly brought in from other states, which leads to their cultural isolation and maladjustment. We’ve seen cases of illiterate women in Bundelkhand (Madhya Pradesh) being sold to men in other states for as little as 500 dollars,” Ranjana Kumari, chairperson of the Centre for Social Research, a New Delhi-based think tank, told IPS News. 

Read More: 53% Males And 42% Females Currently Unmarried In Maharashtra

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