Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girl gets.
Despite wanting to continue on with her education, Azima B was forced to marry as her parents feared river erosion would cause their house to be swept away and make it harder for her to be married later on.
This is a place affected by river erosion.
If the river takes our house it will be hard for you to get married so it’s better if you get married now.
I protested a lot to my parents but they said itis a shame for us to keep you in the house. I wanted to continue my education, but my mother said your father has fixed your marriage and if you don’t listen to your father, people will say what kind of girl is that who doesn’t listen to her father?
I am the oldest and only after I get married can [my sisters] think about getting married. If the river takes the house it will be hard for them to get married.
They’ve already asked me to have children, I live in their house—I have to keep them happy. My husband has also asked me to have children. I said I wanted to wait for two years, but they said no, you should have children now. So I guess I will have to have children now
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch