Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Child Marriage in Bangladesh

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS DHAKA 001218

SIPDIS

G/IWI L KHADIAGALA, SA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV SCUL SOCI KWMN ECON BD
SUBJECT: CHILD MARRIAGE IN BANGLADESH

REF: SECSTATE 36341

1. (U) After consulting with government officials, the NGO
community and UN agencies stationed in Dhaka, Embassy Dhaka
is pleased to respond to the Child Marriage survey sent out
by Washington.

A. The legal age of marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for girls
and 21 for boys. There is not a lower legal age for marriage
with parental consent, however, in practice it happens
frequently.

B. In Bangladesh, underage marriage is a significant problem
among the population at large. Reliable statistics about
underage marriage in Bangladesh are difficult because
marriage registrations are sporadic and birth registrations
to verify children's actual age are not universal. According
to one study published in October 2002 from the Ministry of
Women and Children Affairs and supported through UNICEF, 51
percent of girls and 7 percent of boys aged 13 to 22 are
married. The survey reveals that "marriage is the dominant
reality for rural adolescent girls." The Bangladesh Children
Rights Forum, conducted a survey last year finding the
average age of marriage between 10-15 for girls and 15-18 for
boys. Additionally they estimate that 9 million child
marriages happen a year and that around 40 percent of all
marriages are child marriages.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Underage marriage has multiple adverse affects on the well
being of the child ranging from health problems to stunting
personal and professional development. According to the
Ministry of Women and Children Affairs report, "marriage is
the major reason that girls drop out of school." As a
result, the Bangladesh government offers stipends for girls'
school expenses only if parents promise to delay their
daughters' marriage until age 18.

C. USAID has been funding an Adolescent Reproductive Health
Program which encourages later marriage among Bangladeshi
youth. Through a collaborative process involving local
youth, an Adolescent Reproductive Health Toolkit has been
developed. Each toolkit has corresponding video tapes, CD
videos, and facilitator guides. Additionally, comic books,
radio and television programs were developed for this target
audience. Current plans include a strong marketing and
dissemination strategy. Encouraging later marriage is a
central message among the adolescent health issues covered in
this program.

USAID also funds democracy and governance programs targeted
at women and children which indirectly address the issue of
child marriage as well as a health program that advocates
immediate birth registration.
THOMAS

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.