State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki on Friday said the government is not going to lower the minimum age of marriage for girls from 18.“Child marriage will not be allowed and the age limit of marriage for girls will remain at 18,” she said.
The junior minister was addressing as the chief guest a roundtable discussion on building grassroots network for women empowerment held at the office of vernacular daily The Bhorer Kagoj.
The roundtable was jointly organised by Bhorer Kagoj and Unnayan Shahojogy Team (UST) in association with Spanish non-governmental organisation Paz Y Desarrollo.
The state minister laid emphasis on exploring ways to empower women to best utilise their contributions to the social development, creativity, entrepreneurial skill and energy.
“Women are receiving fewer opportunities compared to their role and contribution to the family and society,” she observed.
Chumki also called upon the male members of the society not to marry underage girl and extend their helping hand to ensuring gender equity.
Imran Hossain Bhuiyan, lecturer of Development Studies at Dhaka University, presented the concept paper at the roundtable.
Bhorer Kagoj editor Shyamal Dutta, UN Women country representative to Bangladesh Christine Hunter, gender manager of Helen Keller International Romana Ridolfi and joint secretary of Women and Children Affairs Ministry Dr Aminul Haque also spoke on the occasion.
Among others, grassroots women representatives from Kachukata and Khutamura unions under Nilphamari district shared their field level experiences of political participation, challenges, and spoke about the visible changes they brought in their areas.
Other discussants at the roundtable stressed ensuring gender equity in the upcoming municipality elections across the country.
They observed that that the participation of grassroots women in the upcoming municipal polls and the union parishad elections will create scopes for promoting gender equity in the country’s political arena.
The speakers also demanded the appointment of women election commissioners in the Election Commission (EC).