Child Marriage in Bangladesh since the 2017 Child Marriage Registration Act
jointly organised by BLAST, University of Kent and University of Malaya and Population Council
In Bangladesh, as in many other parts of the world, adolescent girls face strong social pressures to marry from the onset of puberty. Recent research has established that the practice of child marriage has adverse consequences not only for the women who experience it but also for the next generation of children. But there remains wide-ranging debate among policymakers and researchers about the most cost-effective strategies for tackling the issue.
The 2017 Child Marriage Restraint Act increased the severity of punishments for adults who engage in or facilitate child marriages and introduced, for the first time, a punishment for minors in such marriages. It also introduced a special provision for certain underage marriages not to be criminalized if a court, with the consent of the parents or the guardian of the child, rules the marriage is in the ‘best interest of the minor’ (Section 19 of the Act).
The symposium will present new evidence on child marriage practices in rural Bangladesh in the past two years. This will include new research on the impact of Section 19 of the Act on social attitudes towards child marriage, undertaken as a joint study by the University of Kent and the University of Malaya, funded by the UK Department for International Development.
The event will bring together expert practitioners, researchers, and women's rights activists to reflect on the progress in eradicating child marriage since the introduction of the CMRA in 2017. Participants will assess new evidence and insights from the field, and explore possible future directions for policymakers and other stakeholders engaged in tackling child marriage.
Child Marriage in Behavioural Economics: Nudge, Push, Shove or Sledge-Hammer?
Panel Session at 2019 BDI Conference at Yale University
with participation by Dr Sajeda Amin, Barrister Sara Hossain and Dr Zaki Wahhaj
In many parts of the world, including Bangladesh, adolescent girls face strong social pressures to marry from the onset of puberty. Recent research has established that the practice of early marriage has adverse consequences not only for the women who experience it but also for the next generation of children. But there remains wide-ranging debate among policymakers and researchers about the most cost-effective strategies – as well as innovation in the design of programmes and policies – for tackling the issue. While there exists a broad consensus among stakeholders about the proximate causes of early marriage – including poverty, vulnerability to adverse shocks, and lawless – there is less understanding of the deep drivers: why the practice has persisted in some societies while others with similarly patriarchal traditions have managed to eradicate it in recent decades. This panel session at the 2019 Bangladesh Development Initiative Conference will consider the pros and cons of different strategies for reducing the incidence of child marriage considered by national governments, international aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders.