Some 22.99 per cent of women faced sexual violence by husband in 2020 and 27.74 per cent have faced such violence throughout their married life, finds a survey in four districts.
About 30.54 per cent of the women surveyed in Kurigram, Satkhira, Rajshahi and Barguna said that they faced physical violence between January and December in 2020, according to the survey report released in a webinar on Tuesday.
But physical violence faced by the women was 36.73 per cent throughout their married life, according to the survey on 1,600 households.
South Asian Network on Economic Modelling in association with Action Aid Bangladesh interviewed about 1,270 women aged 15-35 under the survey titled ‘Pandemic and the youth in Bangladesh: Survey findings from four selected districts’.
One of the panel discussants Dhaka University development studies professor Mohammad Abu Eusuf said that the comparison between violence against women in 2020 and throughout their married life could not clear many things.
He said that the comparison should be given on year-on-year basis to get clear ideas of the pandemic’s impacts, if there any, on conjugal life.
Dhaka University women and gender studies department chairman Sanzida Akhter said that it should be assessed whether the pandemic gave new dimension to conjugal life.
The organisations also shared findings of a survey on some other issues, including livelihood, education and health, on 1,487 youth respondents, 61 per cent of whom are males and 39 per cent females.
The survey found that the income of 69.76 per cent of the respondents dropped and 4.52 per cent changed job in 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some 89.25 per cent of the respondents said that they closed their businesses completely in March 26-May 30 in 20202 because of the shutdown enforced by the government to check spread of the coronavirus.
The dropout rate from the primary education in the districts was shown at 15.8 per cent and in the lower secondary level 23.3 per cent.
The survey report said that online classes could not be participated by 51 per cent of the respondents.
While focusing on the health situation, the survey found that only 1.69 per cent underwent coronavirus tests and 24 per cent of them tested COVID-19 positive.
About 28.7 per cent of the respondents said that their medical expenses increased and 63.83 per cent said that there was no availability of mental health treatment facilities in the districts.
SANEM executive director Selim Raihan said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted healthcare, poverty, inequality and livelihood, education, violence against women and several economic and social aspects.
The fallouts have brought in a new set of challenges for the government, he said, adding that lack of capacity is one of them which deprived over 10 lakh people of getting Tk 2,500 one-time cash incentive each.
The government provided the cash incentive to over 37 lakh informal sector workers against the targeted 50 lakh due to glitches in the selection process.
Selim Raihan asked the government to establish an Employment Commission to solve labour problems.
Action Aid Bangladesh country director Farah Kabir said that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed inherent weakness in the area of health, education and employment.
She said that incentive packages of over Tk 1.20 lakh crore were not designed to give any stimulus to youth and women.
The webinar was moderated by SANEM research director Sayema Haque Bidisha.
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