UK international development minister Lynne Featherstone visits Bangladesh
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Minister is visiting Dhaka to see for herself action being taken to end child marriage and prevent violence against women and girls.
Today UK international development minister Lynne Featherstone arrived in Dhaka to see for herself action being taken to end child marriage and prevent violence against women and girls.
Her visit comes in the wake of July’s Girl Summit in London, which brought together people and governments from around the world to pledge their support for action. At a follow-up conference in Dhaka the minister will listen to and encourage survivors of violence to break their silence, and see how the UK government can support efforts to bring an end to child marriage in Bangladesh.
On arrival, Lynne Featherstone said, “I am looking forward to meeting with those working to end child marriage and violence against women and girls. I will be encouraging everyone to get involved to help Bangladesh meet its Girl Summit commitments.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged at the Girl Summit in London that Bangladesh would end marriage under the age of 15 by 2021 and under 18 by 2041, and reduce the number of girls getting married between 15 and 18 by more than one third by 2021.
The minister will meet Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Speaker of the Parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
The minister will also visit a number of UK aid-funded projects that support women’s economic empowerment and social development. As the largest bilateral grant donor in Bangladesh, the UK government is committed to supporting Bangladesh’s development and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Child marriage not only violates the rights of 14 million girls around the world each year but it is also a key barrier to achieving 6 of the 8 MDGs.
Notes to editors
Lynne Featherstone was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development on 5 September 2012. She is the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green. This is her first visit to Bangladesh.
Lynne Featherstone is the UK’s Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Overseas. Her portfolio also includes Africa, policy (excluding anti-corruption), research and evidence, global funds and Europe.
Her previous role was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Criminal Information and Equalities.
According to a study in 2013 (‘Child Marriage in Bangladesh: Findings from a national survey’ by ACPR, icddr,b and Plan International Bangladesh), at 65% Bangladesh has the highest rate of child marriage in South Asia and this rate is the fourth highest worldwide. A third of women aged 20-24 in Bangladesh are married by the age of 15.