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Study: 62% of female caregivers use physical punishment to discipline adolescents

  • Published at 07:56 pm July 7th, 2019
GAGE Bangladesh officials deliver key baseline findings on adolescent capabilities at a roundtable at Brac Inn in Dhaka's Mohakhali on Sunday, July 7, 2019 Courtesy

The research was conducted on 780 households in different slums and shantytowns of the capital

Female caregivers use physical punishment more than male caregivers to discipline children and adolescent family members, says a study of Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) Bangladesh.

The GAGE Bangladesh key baseline findings on adolescent capabilities were presented at a roundtable at Brac Inn in Dhaka's Mohakhali on Sunday.

The study found 62% of female caregivers punish their children and underage family members using physical violence compared to 29% of male caregivers.

Women caregivers are mostly mothers, sometimes aunts, of children and adolescents, where male caregivers are mainly fathers, sometimes uncles, or grandfathers. 

The research was conducted with 780 households in slums and shantytowns of Mohammadpur, Tongi, and Mirpur, in the capital.

The quantitative component of the study was conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the qualitative part was jointly conducted by Brac School of Public Health (Brac JPGSPH) and the Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of Brac University. 

The study focused on freedom from violence, education and learning, bodily integrity and health, sexual and reproductive health rights and nutrition, psychological wellbeing, voice and agency, and the economic empowerment of adolescent boys and girls in urban areas of Dhaka city. 

The study also found 68% of married adolescents experience intimate partner violence.  

82% of adolescents report experiencing corporal punishment at school.  

They say teachers use corporal punishment at school if they break rules, are caught having a romantic relationship, or do not complete homework.

The respondents said boys are beaten more often than girls. They also said they face physical punishment at home as well. Mothers administer the everyday punishment while fathers get involved in more severe circumstances.

Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid, dean of Brac School of Public Health, said adolescence is a particular age when lots of things are happening in terms of mental, physical, and social development. “If we can intervene, a lot of difference can be made in these individual lives.”

Dr Mahmud-Ul-Hoque, additional secretary of the Ministry of Education, was present at the report unveiling event. 

Presenting the findings, Dr Muhammad Ashraful Haque, IPA country representative, suggested monitoring and enforcing the ban on corporal punishment in classrooms and using education and media campaigns to promote non-violent forms of discipline.

Tahera Jabeen, social development adviser at Department for International Development (DFID) Bangladesh, Imran Matin, executive director of BIGD, and Maheen Sultan, senior practice fellow of BGID and GAGE Bangladesh research uptake and Impact coordinator also spoke among others.