In a country like Pakistan where literacy rate is very low, almost down to 26% for women, countless women around the country are not only deprived of education but also of their basic rights as well. This also includes the most important right that allows a girl to live her life to the fullest. Unfortunately, one of the most prominent causes of these hurdles is marriage. Yes, marriage. Child marriage is one of the major causes of low literacy rates of females in Pakistan. According to UNICEF’s report (2014), the rate of child marriages in our country is 21% but surely it is even more than that because many of these marriages are not even registered in rural areas.
Child marriages not only cause girls to drop out of school but it is also a death to their educational life as she is denied her rights to study especially in rural areas. Mature women in the West think hundred times before getting married but these poor girls don’t even have a chance to think or argue as they are forcefully put into this situation by their parents. This is because our society does not value educated women or their views. The men in our society fear that if women educate themselves, they will start to argue and speak against the injustices happening to them.
Even if we take a look at the laws for child marriages, we can see that after the 1929 and 1981 Act, no other laws were passed till 2014 when this Act was amended. According to this law (after amendments) the marriageable age for girls is 18 years and those who will go against this law will be imprisoned for 3 years. In my opinion, this law is not appropriate and will not help us in overcoming this huge social problem as many girls are not emotionally mature for marriage even at this age.
Aside from education, child marriages also negatively impact the girl’s health too. Girls getting married at tender ages are likely to suffer from serious problems related to reproductive health, maternal mortality, weak infants etc. We need to understand the value of every girl in our society as a citizen. Like others, she is also a Pakistani and can contribute to her nation and to her country if she is properly educated.