Women face extra hurdles | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 08, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 08, 2012

Women face extra hurdles

WFP says half of Bangladeshi girls get married before 16

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Half of the female population in Bangladesh get married before they reach 16, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday.
Higher pregnancy rate in adolescence and undernourished mothers mean nutrition deficiency is likely to pass from one generation to another with at least one in every three children born underweight, according to a press release issued by the WFP on the eve of the International Women's Day today.
Different organisations will hold rallies, discussions, seminars and other awareness programmes to mark the women's day this year with the theme "Connecting girls, inspiring futures".
The president, prime minister and leader of the opposition party have given separate statements in observance of the day. In their messages, they called on people to work together to ensure women's participation in all sectors of the country for a better Bangladesh.
WFP press release says sixty million Bangladeshis suffer food insecurity with women and girls facing significant additional challenges. Many girls are denied schooling or leave school prematurely or complete school with a few skills.
Observing the women's day, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday urged the government, civil society and the private sector to work for gender equality and women empowerment.
Meanwhile, WFP Bangladesh Country Director Christa Räder said gender equality and women's contribution to the country's development are crucial to tackling malnutrition of mothers and children and also to achieving the nation's development goals.
Women must be focused in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, Christa Räder was quoted in the press release.
Bangladesh has made great strides in fighting poverty and hunger over the last 40 years, but progress in gender equality has not kept pace with economic development, the press release adds.
International Women's Day (March 8) commemorates the economic, political and social achievements of women. On this important occasion, the WFP honours all women in Bangladesh, who struggle every day to feed their children, families and communities, it says.
As per the press release, the WFP in 2012 will provide food assistance to 1.1 million primary and pre-primary children in Bangladesh.

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