Bangladesh vows to do more to tackle child marriages

Bangladesh is considering bringing in special measures to prevent child marriage – a major obstacle to girls getting an education.

The country has made progress in reducing the number of girls married before the age of 18. But 66% of Bangladeshi girls are still married before the age of 18 and nearly 33% of them are pregnant by age 19.

At the World Girl Summit 2014 in London in July, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she wants to stop girls being married off before age 15 and reduce marriage rates for those aged 15 to 18 by a third by 2021.

Now Bangladesh’s Women and Children Affairs State Minister, Meher Afroze Chumki, has said the government is considering special projects to address child marriage.

She told the Khabar South Asia website: “We’ve already started the work in this regard” and added that “it is not enough to make laws”.

She said the situation wouid improve “only if poverty and superstition can be eliminated from the society”.

Bangladesh Women’s Council President Ayesha Khanam told Khabar South Asia: “The government figures may have shown a reduction in child marriage but it’s still a very serious problem.

“The biggest obstacle to ending child marriage in Bangladesh is poverty and security.”

In Bangladesh, 80% of children receive only two or three hours of schooling per day and rural isolation prevents many children from getting an education.

Child marriage targets are part of the #EducationCountdown. You can find out more about them here.