Bangladesh To Remove ‘Virgin’ Criteria From Marriage Certificates Of Brides In The Country

 The truth about women’s virginity has for centuries been exaggerated and eventually reduced to a myth, but that’s largely due to ignorance and the patriachal tendencies of the average society. The limited knowledge about the virginity status of women has caused women a lot of shame and socio-cultural problems. But as the world advanced and education caused the broadening of perspectives, a whole lot has improved. The latest women to be liberated from the shackles of the virgin status are the Bangladeshi women following Bangladesh’s top court ruling that proclaimed women need no longer declare if they are virgins on marriage certificates.

The victoious ruling came after a five-year legal battle by women’s rights groups trying to protect women’s privacy and potential humiliation. Marriage laws in the Muslim-majority country in South Asia had required a bride had to state on her marriage certificate if she was a “kumari” – meaning virgin – a widow, or divorced.

The nation’s High Court in August ordered the government to remove the word “kumari” and replace it with a word meaning “unmarried”, a move welcomed by women’s rights groups. According to the ruling, the groom would now also have to disclose if he was unmarried, divorced or a widower.

READ ALSO: Twitter User Makes A Long But Educative Thread On The Myth Around A Woman’s Virginity

No one from the government was available to comment about the change or when it was to take effect. Ainun Nahar Siddiqua, one of two lawyers involved in the case, said the case dated back to 2014 with the filing of a written petition to change in the form provided under the 1974 Bangladesh Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.

“It’s a ruling that gives us the belief that we can fight and create more changes for women in the future,”

Ms Siddiqua, of Bangladesh Legal Aid And Services Trust (BLAST), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Mohammad Ali Akbar Sarker, a Muslim marriage registrar from Dhaka, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that registrars like him were waiting for the Ministry of Law and Justice to officially inform them about the changes in the form.

“I have conducted many marriages in Dhaka and I have often been asked why men have the liberty to not disclose their status but women don’t. I always told them this wasn’t in my hands. I guess I won’t be asked that question anymore,”

said Mr Sarker.

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