MCC Limited Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies
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Seminar on "Early Marriage, Social Networks and the Transmission of Norms"

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage worldwide and the highest rate of marriage involving girls under 15. Fifty-two percent of girls are married by their 18th birthday and 18% by the age of 15. As well as strongly embedded cultural and religious beliefs, poverty, parents’ desire to secure economic and social security for their daughters, and the perceived need to protect girls from harm and sexual harassment are the forces those are driving the parents to child marriage. Additionally, parents are attracted by the prospect of lower dowry payments if they marry their daughters off at an early age.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)  organized a seminar on ‘Early Marriage, Social Networks and the Transmission of Norms’ presented by Dr Niaz Asadullah, Professor of Development Economics at Malaya University, Malaysia and Dr Zaki Wahhaj, Senior Lecturer in Economics at University of Kent, UK  held on Sunday, 16 October 2016, at 3:00 pm in the BIDS Conference Room. They argued that early marriage increases agreement with statements supportive of gender bias in the allocation of resources and traditional gender roles. The woman's own schooling, her husband's schooling, and her social network together account for, at most, one-third of the estimated effect, suggesting that the major pathway for norm transmission is the experience of early marriage itself.

Dr Kazi Iqbal, Research Fellow, BIDS and Dr Atonu Rabbani, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka was present as Designated Discussants in the seminar shared their insights on early marriage issue. The session was chaired by the Director General of BIDS, Dr K A S Murshid and was followed by an interactive QnA session with scholars and researchers present.

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