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ED: Ending the child marriage epidemic

  • Published at 12:27 am September 10th, 2021
Child marriage
AFP

We risk not only endangering innumerable girls, their education, and their lives, but we also put the future of Bangladesh in harm’s way

Child marriage is among the worst problems that have plagued our country during this pandemic. Not only is it inherently violent and detrimental to the development of young girls, the recent spike in child marriages is now on the verge of undoing all the progress we made in the past few decades. 

With schools and colleges shutting down for over a year and a half due to Covid-19 and concerted efforts to halt child marriages almost at a standstill, it is no wonder that rates have skyrocketed. In one particularly egregious case from Satkhira, over 50 children from a single school became victims of child marriage over the course of the pandemic, a number of them being SSC candidates who never got to register for their examinations. 

Girls’ education is often still treated as secondary to all else deemed more societally important; this is precisely the kind of mindset that denies our women and girls equal opportunities to become educated citizens capable of contributing to the betterment of our nation and economy. 

And while eradicating stigma and raising awareness issues are essential in the long run, it is imperative that our smaller efforts to stop child marriages also resume as soon as possible. Attention should be directed towards tackling those who cheat the country’s marriage laws using false papers and registration forms, and such illegal activity can and must be stopped at all costs. 

If immediate measures are not taken, we risk not only endangering innumerable girls, their education, and their lives, but we also put the future of Bangladesh in harm’s way. No matter the cost, the child marriage and the inevitable violence it brings must be eliminated once and for all. We owe our children and girls that much, and far better.