Integgra researchers Niaz Asadullah and Zaki Wahhaj, together with Dr Amrit Amirapu at the University of Kent, have received a research grant from the Economic Development and Institutions Research Programme to study the potential effects of the new child marriage law in Bangladesh (Child Marriage Registration Act 2017) on social attitudes towards child marriage practices.
While most countries have laws stipulating a minimum age of marriage, in developing countries these laws are frequently ignored and rarely enforced, and marriage timing is often dictated by notions of female sexuality and family honour and social norms and attitudes regarding the suitable age of marriage. The formal law may, nevertheless, have an expressive role, influencing social attitudes regarding the suitable age of marriage for girls and women even where it does not serve as a hard constraint in itself.
The study will focus on the beliefs and attitudes in rural Bangladesh, including both women from the 2014 Women's Life Choices and Attitudes Survey and their male relatives. For the purpose of the study, the researchers will partner with the Dhaka-based research firm Data Analysis and Technical Assistance and seek support and advice from the Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust. The Economic Development and Institutions research programme is funded by the UK Department for International Development and aims to understand how institutions (including both legal institutions and cultural practices) influence economic and social development.