BRAC focuses on early marriage in its International Women’s Day 2012 celebration

BRAC Audience at BRAC HQ International Womens Day 2012. Credit: BRAC

“End of early marriage and sexual harassment is possible by one generation” is the slogan that BRAC Bangladesh has chosen to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012.

Established in 1972, BRAC is now the world’s largest development organisation and is committed to empowering the poor – and women in particular – through its different development programmes. BRAC has a long history of targeting girls and adolescents as part of its work to increase gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Bangladesh: 3rd highest rate of child marriage in the world

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 66 percent of girls marrying before they turn 18*. As in other countries, child marriage is closely associated with violence and power imbalances in domestic relationships: in 2007, 76 percent of married adolescent girls reported that they experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months**.

Because of the vulnerability of women in Bangladeshi society regarding their choice as to when or whom to marry, and because of BRAC’s commitment to end various forms of women’s vulnerability, early marriage will be a central focus of its International Women’s Day celebration, in line with the UN theme Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.

How BRAC Bangladesh is marking International Women’s Day 2012

As part of these efforts, BRAC Bangladesh is organising a two-week long awareness raising programme about early marriage.

By displaying posters and banners and by showing video documentary at various levels, BRAC aims to raise awareness and build a collective voice against early marriage and different forms of sexual harassment.

BRAC will target about 2000 staff members at BRAC HQ, 15000 at BRAC’s field offices, numerous civil society members, and an estimated one million people at the community level. BRAC is also participating in a state-run national programme to raise awareness about early marriage among its hundreds of staff members.

BRAC is committed to work together to create a social movement that would ultimately help establishing a society free from early marriage, discrimination and violence against girls.

Courage in the heart: For more information on BRAC’s work to empower girls and women in Bangladesh visit: http://www.brac.net/courageintheheart/