Document Type

Fact Sheet

Publication Date



Early marriage deprives girls of the opportunity for personal development and their rights to full reproductive health and well-being, education, and participation in civil life. Bangladesh stands out in international comparisons as having an extraordinarily early age at marriage for girls and a considerable average age difference in marriage between girls and their husbands. This Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents (BALIKA) fact sheet, “Highlight on Marriage,” concludes: In Bangladesh, marriage remains early by most standards and the majority of girls still get married before reaching the legal age of 18 years. By age 19, more than two-thirds of girls are married. Dowry amounts increase with age at marriage. Both young age at marriage and physical beauty are valued attributes and require a smaller dowry. The portion of marriages that are “love” or “own choice” is highest among girls with the most education. These marriages are less likely to involve a dowry. Even though marriage under age 18 is illegal in Bangladesh, there is general social acceptance of marrying girls at an early age.






BALIKA (Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents)