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July 30, 2020

‘28 percent girls marry before age of 18’

National

July 30, 2020

SUKKUR: An alarming 28 percent girls undergo child marriage before turning 18 and only one percent are allowed to choose a life partner, the National Commission on the Status of Women’s report stated.

The findings are part of a research report titled ‘Young Women in Pakistan: Status Report 2020’ released by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). The report seeks to address knowledge gaps by identifying needs, priorities and actions for empowerment of young women. The report didn’t mention about the sample size and methodology.

According to the report, more than one-fourth (28 percent) girls get married before turning 18. Another disturbing fact mentioned in the report says that 16 percent of the young women became mothers before 18 years. Regarding decision making and empowerment, the report said only 24 percent of the young women can take decisions about their education and employment. Sadly on marriage, only a whopping one percent girls get a chance to make decisions about choosing life partner, while only 16 percent girls were consulted by the family on this important issue, and for the rest the family’s decision is simply imposed.

The report also cites several other interesting factors. Around 48 percent of young women from 15-24 of age were not educated, employed or trained as compared to seven percent men. Regarding ownership of property, only less than two percent young women own physical assets, three percent owned agricultural land and two percent cent owned a house.

According to the report, the women cannot even decide about their own healthcare. Disturbingly, one-fourth young women need permission to seek healthcare. Only less than one-third can decide about purchasing food and clothing. As a positive factor, as many as 49 percent of every married employed women enjoy control over their earnings. However only 9 percent have a say in how the earning of the spouse is to be used.

Around 29 percent of the young women experience controlling behaviour by husbands. On wife battering, 44 percent of young married women and men do not consider it as a serious problem. Under this chapter, 15 percent youngsters experience physical violence.

As many as four percent suffer sexual non-spousal violence and similarly another four percent reported sexual spousal violence. Out of these victims, only 23 percent sought legal help while only 16 percent informed close friends or family members. Three percent of the victims informed the police, lawyers or sought assistance from other help mechanisms.