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Child marriage surges during C-19 pandemic

Poverty, social factors responsible for it, speakers tell press confce on Int’l Rural Women’s Day

Published : Friday, 15 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 330

Due to lack of effective monitoring during the Covid-19 pandemic, surge in child marriage rate was seen in the country. The closure of educational institutions for one and a half years was the key cause for this.
At a press conference on the eve of International Rural Women's Day, the National Committee for the International Rural Women's Day Celebration unveiled the findings in child marriage in the country.
International Rural Women's Day would be celebrated in the country today (Friday) along with other countries across the world.
The National Committee for the International Rural Women's Day Celebration organised the virtual press conference with the support of the COAST Foundation and Equitybd. Ferdous Ara Rumee presented the keynote on behalf of the organizers.
Among others, Mustafa Kamal Akhand, Director of Equitybd, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Foundation, and members of the district committees Tamanna Rahman, Abu Hanif, Belal Hossain, Lutfor Rahman Labu, Masuda Faruque Ratna, Rashida Begum, Tahrima Afroz, Khondoker Faruk Ahmed and Ashraful Hasan Taimur also spoke at the programme presided over by Shamima Akhter, chairperson of the committee.
In the findings of the presentation, Ferdous Ara Rumee said that due to lack of effective monitoring during the pandemic, surge in child marriage rates was seen in the country. The closure of educational institutions for one and a half years was the key cause for this.
The dropout rates of girls have increased, which can be seen in the attendance numbers after schools finally reopened, she added.
The speakers stated that our daughters will be pushed towards an uncertain future as there are hardly social and political commitments along with increased investment for girls' education.
They said lack of effective monitoring and measures by the local administration and law enforcement authorities, the return of migrant workers who are seen as perfect grooms, a drop in income, and the perception of girls as a burden, among other factors played a vital role in this regard.
Ferdous Ara Rumee mentioned that Bangladesh ranks fourth in the world in terms of child marriage rates, the country has more than four million child brides, according to UNICEF. Furthermore, it has risen at an alarming rate during the pandemic.
Due to the continued closure of schools, insolvent rural families have found themselves in a precarious situation. Because the administration and law enforcement authorities are swamped by the pandemic, parents can easily marry off their daughters, she added.
She said that the availability of so-called competent grooms, the need to please the elderly, the dread of children participating in romantic relationships, an increase in sexual harassment rates, a lack of social security, financial instability, and other factors contributed to these weddings. Students would have been occupied with their studies if schools were open. Different clubs run by them would also have been active.
Mustafa Kamal Akand mentioned that more than 60 districts in the country are celebrating International Rural Women's Day. Every year, rallies, seminars, demonstrations, fairs, and award-giving ceremonies for rural women with contributions in different sectors are organized to celebrate the occasion.

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