Women's Issues: Child Marriage in Bangladesh (ongoing)
Bangladesh has second highest rate of child marriage in the world and the highest rate worldwide of girls marrying before the age of 15. According to UNICEF nearly three quarters of Bangladeshi girls marry before the age of 18.
The detrimental effects of early marriage on a girl cannot be overstated. Most young brides drop out of school. Pregnant girls from 15-20 are twice as likely to die in childbirth than those 20 or older, while girls under 15 are at five times the risk. Research cites spousal age difference as a significant risk factor for violence and sexual abuse.
Child marriage is attributed to both cultural tradition and poverty. Parents believe that it "protects" girls from sexual assault and harassment. Larger dowries are not required for young girls, and economically, women's earnings are insignificant as compared to men's.