Don’t Lower Minimum Marriage Age for Girls

Child Bride

Target: Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheihk Hasina

Goal: Do not lower marriage age limit to 16 for women in Bangladesh

International law requires a minimum marriage age of 18 for both males and females. However, reports from the Bangladeshi government indicate that the country might lower its marriage age to 16 for females while it stays 18 for males. Not only is this action sexist, but it also places girls at risk for domestic abuse and complications from premature pregnancies. Tell Prime Minister Sheihk Hasina that she must not lower the legal marriage age for girls.

Child marriages are especially dangerous for girls. Girls who are married young are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence. Although they are not physically or emotionally ready to birth children, many girls are forced into it by their husbands or families. And since girls are not ready to have children, many die while giving birth from complications. Bangladeshi women and girls deserve better.

Bangladesh has the second-highest child marriage rate in the world. The country already has a law that states women cannot marry until they are 18, but it’s estimated that 74 percent of Bangladeshi women ages 20 to 49 were already married before they turned 18. This is a staggering and appalling number. Hasina announced at the July 2014 Girl Summit in London that she would end child marriage by 2041. She planned to abolish marriage for girls under the age of 15 by 2021, and it seemed at the time as though Bangladesh was gaining momentum towards progress.

You can protect women and girls from discriminatory and sexist laws by speaking up. Tell Prime Minister Hasina to protect all females from child marriage so they are free from the tragedies of complicated childbirth and forced marriage.


Dear Prime Minister Hasina,

You recently announced at the Girl Summit that Bangladesh is committed to ridding the nation of child marriage. While I applaud your statement, this monumental social change seems to be currently on hold. Reports from your cabinet indicate a possibility that your nation will lower the legal marriage age. I beg you not to do this.

Your country has the second-highest rate of child marriage in the world with disastrous consequences. Many of these marriages happen without the consent of the child, and oftentimes result in domestic abuse and premature pregnancies, the complications of which can be the death or injury of the mother. Lowering the marriage age will place these girls in even more danger. I urge you to not allow this law to pass. You yourself are a woman; fight for women’s rights.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jason Drakeford via Flickr

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