Rights organisations on Thursday demanded an increased investment for girl’s education to address child marriages following the Covid-hit pandemic economy in the country.
School dropout rates of girls have increased, which can be seen in the attendances after schools have finally reopened, they added.
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, said participants.
Speakers said those at a virtual press conference on Thursday on eve of the International Rural Women's Day organised by the National Committee for the celebration of the day.
The press briefing discussed the surge in child marriage rates during the COVID pandemic. The closure of educational institutions for one and a half years was mentioned as a key cause for this to rise.
The virtual event was presided over by Shamima Akhter, the chairperson of the committee. Mustafa Kamal Akhand from equitybd and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Foundation also spoke at the event.
Ferdousv Ara Rumee presented the keynote on behalf of the organisers, mentioned, Bangladesh ranks fourth in the world in terms of child marriage rates; the country has more than 4.0 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.
Tamanna Rahman said that the dropout rate of girls has increased, and most of them fell victim to child marriage. Most of these marriages are not registered. They will be deprived of any legal aid in the future because of this.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said that different studies showed that the rate of child marriage decrease when girls are engaged in higher secondary education and graduation level. Therefore, we should focus on increasing expenditure regarding girls’ education.