Published:  01:15 AM, 13 January 2018

Child marriage must be curbed

A report made public not so long ago noted that child marriage will cost the global economy enormously in the coming days. It is quite well-known that child marriage has negative impacts not only on an individual's mental and physical health but also on the overall social and national landscape. However, this report added to the list of these known costs by highlighting the staggering economic cost of child marriages around the world.

Analysing the data of 15 developing countries with high marriage rates, the report found that these countries will lose trillions of dollars in the next decade if the prevailing rate of child marriage cannot be reduced. On the other hand, the report estimated that ending child marriage will save USD 566 billion annually by 2030 due to reduced population growth. Besides, this will also translate into great improvement in women's expected earnings as girls will then get married after passing school.

For Bangladesh in particular, which has one of the world's highest rates of early marriage with 66 percent of its girls being married off before the age of 18 and approximately one-third of women aged between 20 and 24 getting married by the age of 15, there is much to do in this respect. There is no denying that conditions are taking a better turn day by day thanks to increasing awareness among the people.

However, the pace at which the changes are occurring is rather slow. Therefore, all-out efforts should be made from every quarter, particularly the government, to reach out to the greater populace and make them aware of the harmful consequences of child marriage and of the benefits of stopping it. 

Bangladesh's economic advancement faces many challenges, including social and political ones, overcoming which is necessary for the country to be able to attain its anticipated target. And when it comes to dealing with a social evil like child marriage, eradication of which primarily depends on mass awareness, we have to prove that we really have the iron will to strive to achieve our objective in the greater interest of the nation.

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