Anandi Gopal Joshi deeper dive: Her marriage at age 9
How do we highlight the fact that Anandi Gopal Joshi was a child when she was married but also keep this light enough for a children's book?
One of the things I love about her story is that is opens up the conversation for you to have with your children as they get older about how things used to be and how we as a society have/are changing of those things. My daughter is still a bit too young to quite understand but I cannot wait to someday discuss all of the personal hills, mountain and valleys in this Legendary Ladies journey.
Anandi Gopal Joshi was married around 1874, she was only 9 years old. Her husband, Gopalroa Joshi was 20 years her senior. Although these numbers are shocking, around the world during these times child marriage was more accepted.
To put this in perspective, the age of consent in the U.S. during the 1800's was between 10-16. Although the average age of marriage in both America and Europe during this time was approximately 19 years. But in many African and Asian regions, the ages were much younger and in line with that of Anandi Gopal Joshi.
During the middle ages the Catholic Church set the minimum age for betrothal at 7 years and marriage was common at the age of 12 for girls. Shakespeare's Juliet was but 13 years old.
As a society we done a lot to fight this tradition. Many countries have made laws against child marriage but still in countries like Bangladesh and Niger the average age of marriage for a girl is between 15-16 years old.
India still struggles with this problem, even with laws like the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA). This law's enforcement relies heavily on families as the whistle blowing party.
But even with these laws and initiatives almost 1.5 millions girls will be married before their 18th birthday. And though rare there are reports of mass wedding ceremonies in the Biaora Kalan villiage at which over 60 young couples between the ages of 12-16 were married.
India is doing so much to educate people about the hardship of child marriage and the detriment it can cause. It is reported that over the last 2 years alone through educational meetings the rate of child marriages has dropped almost 65%.
National Geographic did an amazing piece on "India's Forgotten Child Brides" if you are interested here is the link!
At Our Legendary Ladies, we believe that when it comes to our children, the sky’s the limit. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating beautiful, fun, and inspiring baby books that touch on some of history’s most iconic women. We’re not talking about famous pop stars or movie stars, we’re talking about amazing historical figures! Our children’s books go far beyond the basics of things like colors, numbers, and shapes. We discuss amazing women like Anandi Gopal Joshi and Harriet Tubman through beautiful illustrations and easy-to-understand language. Numerous studies have shown that when you read to your child at an early age, they are likely to have a large vocabulary later on (it can also help with math and science, too!).
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