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.
Noor B was forced to get married at the age of 11 to a husband who did not work and was physically abusive. To support her four children, Noor started her own business selling clothes. She tells of how this has allowed her daughters to get an education rather than being forced in to child marriage, but that once they start working she will choose husbands for them.
When I got married I was so young I was not ready, but my parents forced me.
So I decided if I had children I would not get them married young.
I had to struggle a lot because a lot of people say, ‘You are feeding milk and mangoes to your daughters, but they are getting old.’ I say I am the one who will understand my daughters.
As soon as my daughters start working and earn money to stand on their own two feet I will choose their husbands.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch