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Bangladesh ends child marriage

14Ansar Ahmed Ullah ::

The Girl Summit marked its one year on 22 July 2015 aimed at stopping child marriage and female genital mutilation. Bangladesh’ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had participated in this event.
One year on marks an anniversary where British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said, ‘Five key countries with high levels of child marriage, including Bangladesh, have now begun the legal process of ending child marriage for the first time. More than half of women in Bangladesh currently aged between 20 and 24 marry before their 18th birthday and almost a fifth before they reach 15. But the good news is that the rate of child marriage is on a downward trend and it was important that the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was able to participate in the UK Girl Summit.
I believe that when it comes to the rights of girls and women, if you’re not winning the battle, you’re losing it. And so Britain is going to keep fighting this battle, with the help of a growing number of other countries, like Bangladesh, and campaigners, until we win it for girls for good.’
On 22 July 2014, the UK Government and UNICEF co-hosted Girl Summit 2014, to help rally a global movement to end Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early and Forced Marriage for all girls everywhere within a generation. Over 700 people attended the event from over 50 countries. Participants included civil society, faith representatives, government ministers, private sector, survivors and young people.  Progress has continued in the year since the Summit and now over 180 commitments have been made to end FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage.
The Bangladesh Government has made a commitment to reform the 1929 Child Marriage Restraint Act as well as drafting a National Plan of Action to End Child Marriage. In 2006, according to the UNICEF and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics produced Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the rate of child marriages (under 18) was at 74 per cent. In 2007, this rate had come down to 66 per cent and the last MICS data from 2012-2013 showed a further decrease to 52 per cent.
Bangladesh has the 10th  lowest gender gap when it comes to political empowerment (World Economic Forum 2014), the number of women dying in childbirth has reduced from 400 to 240 per 100,000 live births in the last decade (SOWC 2014), education was made free up to Grade 12 for girls outside the metropolitan area from January 2002 promoting girls’ education and reducing drop-outs, laws have been legislated to combat violence against women, including the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act of 2010 and the country introduced the National Women Development Policy, the Child Policy in 2011 and the Children’s Act 2013.

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