Women & Children

Debating Marriage Norms: Pakistan Confronts Rising Number of Unmarried Women Over 35

In Pakistan, a recent discussion has emerged around the status of unmarried women, particularly those over the age of 35. Reports suggest that there are approximately 10 million such women in the country, sparking a variety of reactions and conversations about the societal and cultural factors contributing to this phenomenon.

Factors Influencing Marital Status

Several factors have been identified that influence the marital status of Pakistani women. These include:

  • Societal Expectations and Dowry Practices: The tradition of dowry, where the bride’s family is expected to provide gifts and money to the groom’s family, continues to be a significant barrier. Excessive demands can make marriage financially burdensome for the bride’s family.
  • Educational and Career Aspirations: There is a growing trend of women prioritizing higher education and career goals over early marriage. This shift reflects a desire for independence and financial stability before entering into marriage.
  • Changing Attitudes Towards Marriage: Many educated women are increasingly rejecting unsuitable marriage proposals, contesting patriarchal and misogynistic attitudes, and seeking partners who respect their autonomy and career ambitions.

The rise in unmarried women has been attributed to various factors, including the increasing educational and professional achievements of women, which have led to a reevaluation of priorities. Many women are now placing a greater emphasis on personal growth, career success, and financial independence, often delaying or forgoing marriage altogether.

This trend has not gone unnoticed, with some segments of society blaming feminism for what they perceive as a disruption of traditional family structures. There have been suggestions that polygamy could be a solution to the perceived ‘problem’ of unmarried women, sparking further controversy and debate.

Critics of this view argue that such suggestions are regressive and fail to address the underlying issues of gender equality and women’s autonomy. They advocate for a societal shift that respects women’s choices and acknowledges their right to determine their own life paths, whether that includes marriage or not.

The conversation around unmarried women in Pakistan is complex and multifaceted, touching on themes of gender roles, societal expectations, and individual freedoms. It is a reflection of the broader global discourse on women’s rights and the ongoing struggle for equality.

As Pakistan grapples with this issue, it is clear that a societal shift is necessary. The focus should be on creating a supportive environment for women to make life choices that align with their personal and professional goals, without facing societal judgment or pressure.

The status of unmarried women over 35 in Pakistan is a complex issue rooted in cultural, economic, and social factors. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it is imperative for society to engage in constructive dialogue and develop inclusive policies that respect women’s autonomy and choices.

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