Child marriage, a major obstacle to women’s development, has increased during the Corona period, which is also an obstacle in the way of women’s leadership. School closures, unemployment, and increased levels of child marriage increase the risk of sexual violence.
The government is responsible for achieving sustainable development goals by eliminating child marriage. So everyone must build resistance together to stop child marriage. It will be possible to prevent child marriage if we can change the patriarchal social norms and ensure proper implementation of the law. The speakers said this in a dialogue in Patuakhali.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pratik Youth Parliament and Care Bangladesh organized a youth campaign in Patuakhali to prevent violence against women and child marriage. Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Civil Surgeon, Patuakhali, was present as the chief guest at the program on Tuesday (March 17) at 10 am at the SDA Auditorium in Sabujbagh, the city, under the theme ‘Women will lead the world to new equality’. In youth dialogue and discussion meetings.
Patuakhali Sadar Police Station Officer-in-Charge Md Akter Morshed, Upazila Social Service Officer Hemayet Uddin, Upazila Youth Development Officer Badrul Amin Shamim, Patuakhali Sadar Police Station Deputy Inspector Runa Laya took part in the discussion as special guests. District Women’s Affairs Instructor Nilufa Yasmin, Pratik Youth Parliament Chairperson Md. Aminul Islam Firoz Mostafa, Sabbir Hasan and representatives of various development organizations in Patuakhali. SDA Executive Chief KM Enayet Hossain presided over the discussion. The event was attended by 60 youths and their parents.
During the discussion, the speakers said that women are being deprived of their rights due to the social inequality between men and women as a result of child marriage. Awareness is very important to prevent child marriage. Families give child marriages because of poverty and illiteracy. Therefore, it is necessary to take steps to prevent child marriage by eliminating poverty in the family. Young people need to be involved in these activities. Local administration, people’s representatives, and civil society can stop child marriage if they want. The speakers called for the proper implementation of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act.
The latest survey by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that Bangladesh ranks fourth in the world in terms of child marriage. In Bangladesh, 6 percent of girls get married before they turn 18. Two-thirds of them are getting married 15 years ago. Although participation in primary and secondary education is equal to or more than that of boys, girls are far behind in higher education and employment. At present, only 26 percent of government employees are women. Among the students studying in the university, 38.8% are women.
One of the reasons for the backwardness of girls is child marriage. The baby girl is the baby mother. As a result, maternal and infant mortality rates increase. Achieving the SDG target will be a challenge if child marriage is not stopped now. Worldwide, married girls under the age of 15 are more than 50 percent more likely to be physically and sexually abused than married girls under the age of 18.
It is to be noted that world leaders have promised to end child marriage by 2030 in line with the UN Development Goals. At the World Girls Summit held in England in 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged to eliminate child marriage under the age of 15 by 2021, reduce the rate of child marriage among women between the ages of 15 and 16 by one-third by 2021 and eradicate child marriage by 2041.
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