• Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018
  • Last Update : 02:22 am

A problem that won’t solve itself

  • Published at 06:32 pm October 25th, 2018
child marriage
Photo: REUTERS

Child-birth at very young ages has serious long-term health-related consequences for both girls and infants

There are few who would question the fact that child marriage is a blight on our society -- that much is empirical. A problem with far-reaching consequences, child marriage is an unfortunate practice that is still being perpetuated in certain sections of our society.

To that end, a recent roundtable discussion organized by the Dhaka Tribune titled “Education and IGA: Opportunities and Challenges for Early Married Girls” shed some light on the socio-economic ramifications of leaving child marriage unchecked as a problem.

Being married off early is an immense barrier to girls’ education, and it one of the primary reasons why girls still lag behind boys in secondary and tertiary education -- which, in the long term, prevents more women from joining the workforce, stunting our economic growth.

There is also evidence that child-birth at very young ages has serious long-term health-related consequences for both girls and infants -- which becomes a matter of great concern when we take into account that over 16 million teenagers become mothers every year in our country.

This alone should ring alarm bells.

One of the primary reasons behind girls being married off early is the stigma that surrounds the discussion of pre-marital sex, a stigma that ought to be broken.

Another reason is, of course, the matter of security, where parents look to early marriage as the only way to protect their daughters from unwanted attention.

We realize that this is not an easy problem to solve, but it is not a problem where we can simply bury our heads and expect it to be solved by itself.

Eradicating child marriage requires a multi-faceted approach, requiring concerted efforts from the government, any third-party organizations concerned, and the willing participation of the people.

And the longer we delay such efforts, the higher the cost will be for us going forward.