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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Best strategies to empower girls

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Financial incentives to delay child marriage would return 4 takas of social good for every taka spent. The latest academic research highlights the smartest ways to empower young women and avoid harms of early marriage. 

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls worldwide will become child brides—defined by the United Nations as marriage before age 18.  The effects from such early marriage can be devastating and long-lasting for women: lower education levels and lower lifetime earnings, higher rates of domestic violence, greater risk of dying from pregnancy complications, and increased mortality rates for the children of these young brides. 

Even though Bangladesh’s legal age of marriage is 18, the country has the second-highest rate of child marriage globally: the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey shows that nearly three quarters of women ages 20-49 married before turning 18.  Many of these girls’ families offer them for early marriage to avoid paying higher dowries.

Read more in Bjorn Lomborg’s article published by The Daily Star.