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Reasons behind Dropout of Female Students

Early marriage is the most predominant reason behind the dropout of female students from schools. Though the minimum official age for marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for women and 21 for men, marriage especially in rural areas and among the poorer section of the populace occurs before the age limit. In Bangladesh society, girls are viewed as a burden on the family. On the other hand boys are considered as asset. In course of interviews carried out for the purpose of the present study, the researchers found that in some areas parents have a belief that seven is an appropriate age of girls to get married and that even girls of nine years age fall under the category of “old”. Naturally, parents prefer to marry off their daughters before they are considered as old. Parents encourage marriage of their daughters while they are still adolescents or children in the hope that the marriage will benefit them both financially and socially. Adolescent girls are often regarded as economic burden to their families; marrying them off at a very early age is seen as reducing the financial burden of the family. Studies also show that parents encourage early marriage for girls because of a fear that their dowry price will increase as their daughters grow older. It is also a way to ensure that their daughters are protected, as parents feel that their daughters will be better off financially and safer from sexual abuse or illicit sexual contact if they are married. Families with unmarried older girl child are often stigmatized because they have not acted to protect their family’s honor by securing an early marriage.
Child marriage turns out to be a “double” menace because the only way girls can escape child marriage is by getting education, but that very “escape route” is blocked by marrying off a girl child early in her life.