Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of early marriage in the world. Over two thirds of girls get married before they reach 18; the country also has the highest rate of child marriage in South Asia (65%) and the world’s highest rate of marriage involving girls under the age of 15.
Recognising this, Girls Not Brides (GNB) Bangladesh was formed as national partner of the Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Launched in September 2013, Girls Not Brides Bangladesh currently has 23 national and international civil society organisation members who share the common goal of seeking to end child marriage.
Girls Not Brides Bangladesh was part of the technical committee involved in reviewing the rules of the 2017 Child Marriage Restraint Act. It continues to lobby the government for the proper implementation of the Act and to ensure that a special provision allowing child marriage in ‘special cases’ is not misused to force victims of sexual abuse or pregnant rape victims to marry their abusers, for example. Girls Not Brides Bangladesh is also working to raise public awareness of the Act in Bangladesh.
Backlash faced by Girls Not Brides Bangladesh includes regressive policy and law and delegitimisation of the issues.
In collaboration with Dalit – Hope for the Oppressed – a member of the Girls Not Brides Bangladesh coalition – SuPWR partner BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) produced a documentary film under the SuPWR project. The film features Anjali, a Dalit girl in her early 20s who stopped her own child marriage and continued her education.