Integgra Engages with Key Policymakers in Bangladesh

On September 3rd, Integgra researchers Niaz Asadullah and Zaki Wahhaj presented findings from the 2014 Women's Life Choices and Attitudes Survey (WiLCAS) and Brac Adolescent Development Programme Baseline Survey at a seminar on child marriage at East West University in Dhaka. Invited guests at the event included the Bangladesh Minister for Cultural Affairs Mr. Asaduzzaman Noor and MP and Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women and Children's Affairs Mahbub Ara Begum Gini.

 

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Geographic Distribution of Child Marriage in Bangladesh

% of women aged 20-39 married by age 15, by district of birth

 

Source : 2014 WiLCAS (Women's Life Choices and Attitudes Survey) using self-reported age of marriage, and reported marriage ages of siblings for a sample of 6,293 women.

Bangladesh's Child Seamstresses

Bangladesh’s ready-made garments (RMG) industry has been the focus of attention in recent weeks due to the second anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza, one of the deadliest industrial accidents in Bangladesh in which more than a 1,000 mostly women workers lost their lives.

Recent UK and US media reports have highlighted the plights of workers and abuse of their rights suggesting that not much has changed since the accident in April 2013. Concerns are also growing over the use of child labour in garments production.

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Child Marriage Law and Freedom of Choice

The government of Bangladesh is presently contemplating a move that would permit girls to marry at 16 with parental consent and/or approval from courts. If the law is passed, it would mark the first occasion that girls are legally permitted to marry below the age of 18 in the Indian subcontinent since the "Child Marriage Restraint Act" came into effect in 1929. 

Despite significant progress in improving gender equality and declining poverty in recent years, Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage among girls in the world: two-thirds of women marry before the age of 18. The current law forbidding the marriage of minors (below the age of 18 for girls and 21 for boys) is frequently ignored and rarely enforced.

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