Why not to question societal attitudes, outdated traditions?

Staggering figure of over 10 million unmarried women over 35 prompts questions about societal attitudes and need for change, according to UN statistics

Representation image of woman at home. — Freepik

The statistics — provided by the United Nations (UN) data on population by marital status — have shed light on a previously under-discussed aspect of Pakistani society: the plight of unmarried women over the age of 35.

The staggering figure — over 10 million — has sparked a national conversation, prompting questions about societal attitudes and the need for change.

While the statistics may come as a shock to some, many in Pakistan are acutely aware of the challenges faced by unmarried women. In a society where marriage has become increasingly complex, it’s not uncommon to find households with at least one or more unmarried daughters or women.

Reasons for rejection can vary widely, encompassing socio-economic factors like financial instability, as well as more subjective criteria like physical appearance, age, caste, and even educational attainment. These women are often ostracised, their lives carrying a stigma that can be deeply isolating.

Even for those who do manage to get married, the path isn’t always smooth. Pakistan’s patriarchal structure places a heavy burden of sacrifice on women. Daughters are expected to waive inheritance rights, wives to forgo their dower, and all are pressured to endure hardship in the name of family honour.

Experts argue that a shift in societal attitudes is crucial. Simplifying the marriage process and challenging unrealistic expectations – the desire for a “fair-skinned, educated, model-like” bride, for instance – could significantly improve the situation.

Furthermore, a more nuanced understanding of religious teachings is needed. While the Holy Quran permits polygamy, it also offers examples that challenge societal norms. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married Khadija, a successful businesswoman who was 15 years his senior and a widow. All but one of his other wives were also widows or divorcees.

Looking beyond Islam, the practice of “sati” in Hinduism serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of societal pressure. While Pakistan doesn’t practice sati, ostracised unmarried women can feel like living dead within their own communities.

The recent statistics have awakened a sense of urgency. Many are calling for action, urging a move away from outdated traditions and a recognition of individual choice. Ultimately, creating a more inclusive and accepting society requires a collaborative effort, one that empowers women to choose their own paths and find fulfillment on their own terms.

In a bid to address the serious issue, the “Dil Ka Rishta” app introduces millions of people and has thousands of success stories as several of them found their life partners.

“Dil Ka Rishta” has become one of the successful matrimonial digital platforms due to its unique features, helping people to find their soul mates.

While using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the popular app floats suggestions as per people’s interests, and ensures maximum privacy.

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