child marriage Bangladesh Allison Joyce/Stringer

A Blueprint for Ending Child Marriage

When a young girl is pushed into marriage, the damage can last long after her wedding day, in the form of lower educational attainment, domestic abuse, and adverse physical and mental effects. In the effort to end the practice, Bangladesh offers both a blueprint and a cautionary tale.

DHAKA – When a young girl is pushed into marriage, the damage can last long after her wedding day. Research shows that girls who marry before the age of 18 receive less schooling than those who marry later, face a higher risk of domestic abuse, and suffer a lifetime of adverse effects on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Yet child marriage continues to be a common practice in the developing world. According to UNICEF, there are more than 700 million women alive today who were married before they turned 18. One in three women aged 20-24 were married or in a union while still a child.

What can be done to end this harmful practice? Bangladesh offers both a possible blueprint and a cautionary tale.

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