Implications Of Child Marriages And How To End The Practice
Child marriage is defined as a marriage of the individual; girl or boy, before the age of maturity. It is prevalent not only in Pakistan but in many parts of the world. 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 15. According to a UNICEF report, Pakistan has the sixth highest number of absolute child brides in the world, which is 1,909,000.
On the other hand, nearly 41,000 girls are forced into child marriage every day worldwide.
On top of that, Pakistan also has a low literacy rate for girls. This, combined with child marriages, is a huge threat to our younger generations. In the worst case scenario, girls take their own lives because they can’t deal with all the stress anymore.
Several experts around the world have raised concerns and given solutions to it. But what are the implications?
Biological Impacts of Child Marriage
The biggest implication of child marriages is immature female deaths. According to experts, child marriage increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, malaria, death during childbirth, and obstetric fistulas. What’s more, this practice also causes depression and post-traumatic stress including a high risk of being affected with HIV.
Poverty: The Driver Of Child Marriage
Poverty is another major cause of child marriages in Pakistan. According to statistics, more than 50% of girls from the poorest families in the developing world are married as children. The early married brides often come from very poor backgrounds.
Islam And Children Rights
Pakistan is an Islamic country and therefore has a great religious influence in almost all matters. More often than not, religion is misused, for example in this case. Islam gives full liberty to a girl to have a say in marital matters. Females cannot be married against their will. Also, Islam puts rays on the importance of education as the very essential right of children.
Illiteracy Ends Child Marriage.
Girls in Pakistan are often raised illiterate, especially those in rural areas. Going to school is culturally banned in some areas of the country where females are confined to the boundary walls of homes until their marriage. This estimate is quite true that girls who have no education are three times as likely to marry by 18 compared to girls with secondary or higher education.
We must know that today’s female children are tomorrow’s mothers if they are raised illiterate then the process of child brides will continue to exist. To introduce an ending to this practice, we must engage our females by putting them in schools where they have less risk of getting married before at the age of 18. The longer a girl stays in school, the less she is early to be married.
How to End Child Marriages?
To curb child marriages, we must first create a culture of education. Also, the provincial governments should immediately outlaw child marriage as it already has no affirmative image of acceptance in Islam.
Ending child marriage will not be easy feet but possible changes need work at all levels and across all sectors. To make this practice less prevalent, we should understand the complex driving factor behind the practice in different contexts and adapt our intervention accordingly. In addition, the provision of income opportunities like microfinance to families can also help.