Invest more in girls’ education
Leaders of different rights groups yesterday demanded that the country invest more in the education of girls to prevent child marriage and keep them in schools.
The call came at a virtual press conference held by The National Committee for the International Rural Women's Day Celebration on the eve of International Rural Women's Day, to be observed today.
The press briefing discussed the surge in child marriage especially during the pandemic when the educational institutions remained closed for almost a year and a half.
Lack of effective monitoring and measures by the local administration and law enforcement authorities, a drop in families' income, and the perception of girls as a burden, among other factors played a vital role in this regard, they said.
Speakers also said dropout rates of girls from schools have increased, which can be seen in the attendance numbers after schools finally reopened on September 12.
Tamanna Rahman, Abu Hanif, Belal Hossain, Lutfor Rahman Labu, Masuda Faruque Ratna, PM Billal, Rashida Begum, Tahrima Afroz, Sheikh Asad, Khondoker Faruk Ahmed, Ashraful Hasan Taimur, and members of the district committee spoke during the programme presided over by Shamima Akhter, the chairperson of the committee.
Mustafa Kamal Akhand from equitybd and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Foundation, also spoke at the event.
In her keynote address, Ferdous Ara Rumee mentioned that Bangladesh ranks fourth in the world in terms of child marriage. The country has more than 4 million child brides, according to Unicef.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said studies showed that the rate of child marriage decreased when girls are engaged in higher secondary education and graduation level. "Therefore, we should focus on increasing expenditure regarding girls' education," he said.
On behalf of the organisers, Mustafa Kamal Akand mentioned that more than 60 districts in the country are celebrating International Rural Women's Day. Every year, rallies, seminars, demonstrations, fairs, and award-giving ceremonies for rural women with contributions in different sectors are organised to celebrate the occasion.