Child Marriage and the Effects of COVID-19 in Bangladesh
Fabiola A. Hernandez Vargas, Maya A. Smith-Custer, Meaghan Elizabeth Thomas
Based on the work and data gathered by Counterpart International, a development agency funded by USAID, this presentation focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already existing issue of child marriage in Bangladesh. This is part of a larger program Counterpart International has implemented since 2018, titled, ‘Promoting Advocacy and Rights’ (PAR). PAR gains to deepen democratic values within civil society to improve public governance in collaboration with others NGOs. In this project titled, ‘Child Marriage and the Effects of COVID-19 in Bangladesh’, analyzes how gender disparities impact the decisions made for young girls. Childhood marriage has been illegal in Bangladesh since the passing of the Childhood Marriage Restraint Act in 1929 under British rule. Later, in response to the widespread continuation of this practice, the government enacted the Childhood Marriage Act of 2017, making the practice legal with certain provisions, such as authorizing girls under the age of eighteen to get married with permission of a guardian. The gender disparities in Bangladesh lead to childhood marriages and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase of childhood marriages. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the push factors toward childhood marriage. Childhood marriage can be the result of lack of access to resources, education and financial hardship. Understandably, childhood marriage can be considered a social solution to these hardships for struggling families, specifically in rural areas. However, women in these marriages are more likely to experience domestic violence and physical and mental hardships. They also lose their mobility, financial independence, and become full time homemakers. In this presentation we highlight these underlying structural causes and effects and propose some solutions based on our semester work on delving deeper into issues that specifically impact Bangladesh as a country.
Primary Advisor's Department
Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
"Child Marriage and the Effects of COVID-19 in Bangladesh" (2021). Stander Symposium Projects. 2254.