Rights, health and gender equality of the Bangladeshi youth
According to UNICEF reports, Bangladesh constitutes of 27.7 million adolescents aged 10-19 years, with 13.7 million girls and 14 million boys, making up about a fifth of the total population.
Most adolescents have a scarcity of resources in acquiring knowledge and skills for their self-development and protection.
An estimated 6.9 million children aged 5-14 years (12.9% of the total labor force) are working and therefore exposed to hazardous and risky conditions, especially in the large cities. Many adolescents migrate from rural to urban areas and are compelled to work in precarious situations which are of high risk. Young girls are always in danger of abuse, exploitation, acid-throwing, inter- and intra-border trafficking and such among other gender related violence.
Early marriage is a crucial issue for adolescent girls. About 50% of pregnancies occur by the age of 18 years. Only 57.2% of adolescents aged 10-19 years have heard of HIV/AIDS and 30.7% are aware of preventive measures.
Until recently, the rights and needs of adolescents were largely ignored in Bangladesh. This was especially true in relation to girls, most of whom move straight from childhood to marriage around the time of puberty. They are not informed about their rights, health and gender equality, and they have limited mobility and opportunities to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge among their friends.