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Photo by UNICEF/UN062021/Vishwanathan

The number of women around the world who were married as children has dropped 15% in the last decade, according to new data from UNICEF. The group says if rates hadn't been lowered, 25 million more child marriages would have taken place.

Why it matters: An estimated 650 million women alive today were married as children, with the current rate down to about 12 million child marriages a year. But despite progress being made against the practice — which has been linked to sex trafficking, teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse — the UN's goal of eliminating child marriage by 2030 is far off.

In South Asia, the rate of child marriage has fallen from an astounding 50% down to about 30%, in large part thanks to increased access to girls' education and strong public messaging in India.

  • The NY Times reported on this trend in the rural Indian state of Bihar, where 69% of women surveyed in 2005 said they were married as children.
  • Indian lawmakers criminalized child marriage in 2006, but enforcement remains a challenge — especially in areas where families believe it can "shield [children] from unwelcome sexual advances and consolidate families’ status in a community."
  • A review of census data revealed another disturbing trend: "In pockets of India, incidents of child marriage are decreasing in rural areas, but increasing in urban settings," possibly because people are relocating to cities.

Go deeper

Biden: Jan. 6 Capitol riot "was about white supremacy"

President Biden speaks during the 10th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that white supremacy motivated rioters who carried out the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: "The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion," Biden said at an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.

Scoop: “How about zero?” Manchin, Sanders get heated behind closed doors

Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) squabbled behind closed doors Wednesday, with Manchin using a raised-fist goose egg to tell his colleague he can live without any of President Biden's social spending plan, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The disagreement, recounted to Axios by two senators in the room, underscores how far apart two key members remain as the Democratic Party tries to meet its deadline for reaching an agreement on a budget reconciliation framework by Friday.

Fed revamps rules for officials, restricts trades after controversies

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced significant changes to its rules regulating officials' financial activities following controversy last month over some officials' past trading practices.

Why it matters: The rule revamp is a coda to the biggest scandal to hit the Fed in recent memory.