Being a woman: Why does marriage equal lifetime security?

Published: August 19, 2013

Why do we think the only secure future is one with a husband? PHOTO: REUTERS

“You’ll be left alone, to rot in a corner of the house owned by your brothers and their families.”

“There’s a time when you’re wanted, and it doesn’t last long.”

“People will ask questions like why our ‘peghla lur’ (young daughter)’ is still not taken!”

Are you familiar with such statements? No? Unfortunately I am.  And so is every other girl of my area who is in her mid-twenties, educated …. but still not ‘taken.’

I remember the time when I passed my Matric exam. I had aimed to study at the best college of the province and I somehow managed to fulfil this dream. I had never seen it before, only heard about it- from no one else but my parents. They were the only people to give me dreams, make me ambitious and then put every effort to help me make my dreams come true.

I belong to an area where the optimum education for most of the girls is till the Matric or Intermediate level; I was given the opportunity to study further.

From books to clothes to travelling to the other town and back, from admissions to exams to interviews, provision of good education is not an easy task. Not only in terms of money but also in terms of security. It involves great courage and faith for parents to send their daughters away. It is a big responsibility especially  in our society where gherat (dignity) starts with matters related to women and ends there too; where the educated or professional women are not given the equal amount of respect as those wrapped in a shawl and sitting near the hearth are given .

Anyway time passes…

Now I’m a graduate – more confident, energetic and ambitious.  Time, education and good teachers have given me a different perspective, a broader vision, spirit to do more and go further. Opportunities for a brighter career and a better future lie ahead of me. I aim to get a good job and secure a scholarship for my further studies to make the dream – which my parents and I had seen together come true.

However, something blocks my way: proposals for marriage.

Suitors of all sorts … a successful cloth merchant with daily income of Rs10, 000… a UK return guy who had to come back as they won’t extend his visa but he has that UK tag… HR officer in a local NGO….  An MBBS doctor ….

And I keep on begging and saying,

“But, I need a little more time to complete my education.”

Parents when they grow older, become more insecure and impatient. They won’t listen to the girls and force them to accept one of the proposals –this coercion is an emotional one: showing an ugly picture of the future of a single woman;  complaining about the social pressure; arguing that no matter what, her final destination is the Kitchen; convincing  that the satisfaction of a happy husband and children is far more than personal fulfillment through education and achievement;  moaning the questions raised about the honor of the family believing she doesn’t get married because there is some “problem “ with the  girl; and the most important one – education has ruined her mind and she is no more a family-woman.

Call it love, or fear, or concern, or respect, or any other emotion – it can make the girl yield to the wishes of the family. So I give up. As I leave my home behind heading to new life, I leave my dreams and ambitions along with my degree and transcripts in a file up in a shelf of my father’s cupboard. I will become a wife, daughter/sister in law, mother and everything else – but what I ever wished to be.

However, what pains me is that why can we not dare to get out of the typical social structure? WE give our daughters dreams, but then we are the ones who stand in their way. Why don’t we let them complete their education, when we set them on the road to education, why do we give-up in the middle?

Why are we scared of the future? Why do we think the only secure future is one with a husband?

Why don’t we trust that women are individuals and can manage themselves as well, when properly educated? Why do we force them to marry men who are not intellectually on the same level as them? When we allow them everything till they are about 24-25-years-old why do we suddenly become misers when allowing them two or three more years? Why is a woman at the age of 28/29 years socially old when physically and biologically she is perfectly young? Why do we fear that an educated woman won’t fit in the family just because she won’t blindly obey what she is asked to do? Why do we forget to understand that education makes a woman a more understanding wife, a more sensible mother?

We need to re-address our codes and values and remove the confusion in our minds that education does no harm to women; it does not upset the family structure nor does it poison the minds. If we enable the women to question, understand and rationalise things then we should trust their judgments, dreams and decisions too.

Yousra Javaid

Yousra Javaid

A Masters in English literature with distinction, Lecturer, living in an era where being normal is probably the most special thing one can do. The usual beliefs, contradictions and complications to follow. She tweets @YousJavaid

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Dr.G

    People are uncomfortable if they can’t identify and shelve you under a particular label-married/widow/divorcee…etc.
    ‘Single’ is a tag,society,neighbors,colleagues find difficult to process when you’re past 30. [”Is something wrong with her ?/Don’t her parents care/what’ll she do when she’s old ?”]
    Besides that,it’s not generally safe for a woman to live alone in this part of the world on a permanent basis,without a ‘man’ in the house-either father/husband/grown son etc…
    It’s easier in the west…live alone,work,marry whom and when you want,buy your own house…more flexible and there’s lesser social disapproval.Recommend

  • Ashi

    After conjugal relationship, women tend to get obesity by leaps and bounds which impelled her to look older than a miserable man… whereas, a man wants his beloved companion who is at least 5 years younger than him, and he wants to look like a husband rather than a son when it comes to capture a moment with his so-called wife… !!

    Consequently, girls have to embark into the vortex of getting married before the completion of her education…. !!! :D Recommend

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    Hmmm,, honestly its hard to admit it being a man myself but we the Pakistani Men are afraid of educated girls. Our ideal is typical Mashraqi girl who is beautiful and just as naive if not more.
    Men here expect that their wives will agree to them not only in domestic matters but on social, religious and even political matters also. And they like their women to be dependent on them. Yup, that’s the real thing. An educated, professional girl who has a career of her own, who has her own views on all aspects of life. Who knows when to say yes and when to say no is a BIG NO here.
    So the parents are not quite so wrong when they do all that you just mentioned. Societies evolve not in leaps and bounds but at a snail’s pace… it might take another few decades when the girls will be finally allowed to have their rights.
    Another interesting thing is that while our religion Islam allows women to get education and if necessary do a job or run a business and even to choose their own partners; mostly injustice is meted out to women in the name of Islam.Sad.Recommend

  • Misha…

    i disagree with your whole blog like seriously after studying so much you just dont learn to stick to one profession and you can never stop learning no matter what. I believe Teachers train you in a way that you can take any challenge in your life and take out some good use out of it. there are alot more women here in Pakistan who are educated married and succesful in there life, if you want me to name them for you then please look up to the Owner of Generation she is a women who is married, three kids and now runns an Ngo to give education to children, Bareeza owner is a women, Benzir Bhutto can be best example and the list goes onn. So you just can’t BLAME MARRIAGE to put stop at your better future.. You just have to work for it no one can stop you for learning…Recommend

  • Umer

    It’s way too Sisyphean to make parents realize that marriage doesn’t secure their daughter fully, for an educated clan a girl has got to be educated, and for that she requires a permutation of time.Recommend

  • Mirza Abeer

    Most men want younger wives so its as simple as that. For many 29-30 is an unacceptable age for a bride. Around 30 yrs the childbearing years left are few.
    Anyhow, the solution is simple. Look for a guy who either agrees to wait till you finish your education or agrees that you shouldnt stop studying after marriage.Recommend

  • Alam

    I doubt Yousra talked about particularly Pashoon families. (Herself is a pashtoon)

    Let me remind that the lowest ‘Divorce’ rate is in Pashtun families. And being a woman you can not make a better decision than man. A woman can never be stronger, even you feed her 16 years of education.

    Perhaps education can not teach you things that you learn can from your parents.

    Education is necessary for every woman. She must be literate, should read write urdu, english, can understand the usage of latest gadgets, mobiles and operate computers. She should know about the general information about the country and system.

    I have always in the favor of Intermediate education with a ‘4 years Islamic studies’ for women that would be much beneficial for her life after marriage than doing graduation / masters in meaning less fields.

    From Swat Valley.Recommend

  • Umar

    It seems we are a fear driven society: behind each of our actions, there is some kind of fear, biggest of which, as I perceive, is what will the people say. I feel suffocated by this notion and it feels like our existence is reduced only to the level of puppets whose purpose is only to amuse others. I wish we could throw away these masks of perfection we all are wearing and don’t hesitate to show our imperfect faces. Perfection alienates, imperfection binds.Recommend

  • Professor

    @Mirza Abeer:
    Are you suggesting that women are just baby factories? Recommend

  • SMA

    Brought tears to my eyes. I can relate to your sentiment, having gone through it myself. However, I am still fighting on and havent succumbed to any emotional blackmail (yet). I beleive women should be given a chance to flourish, become more independant and intellectually developed.

    Educated and enlightened women are the gateway to a better tomorrow.Recommend

  • Indi-Pop

    @Mirza Abeer:
    As we say in India..mentos khao..zubaan par lagaam lagao!Recommend

  • faisal afridi

    The blogger is out on a limb and her blog is the apt description of the dilemma faced by every other educated girl in our society. It is still beyond my comprehension when educated parents send their daughters to universities for higher education, but the same parents never sought their daughters’ consents in marriage proposals. so, the higher education become a double edged sword for these girls, an asset as well as a liability. unfortunately, there are very little people in our society; who raise their voice in this for these girls. Perhaps the social taboos or patriarchal-cum-conservative society do not allow these people and especially parents to express their dissenting voice or go against the established norms of the society. Recommend

  • sars

    @Mirza Abeer:
    Maybe everyone doesnt need a cricket team of kids, neccessitating that you start at 17.
    A woman with a mind is definitely a scary thing it appearsRecommend

  • AliKuliKhan

    Women have been dealt a difficult hand. They are born with a disadvantage. Their evidence is considered half of that of a man. Their share in the family property is less than that of their brothers. They are expected to share their husbands with 3 other women. Not to mention the dress code imposed upon them. Life of an educated working women is no better than that of a not-so-educated house wife. The workplace harassment is as bad as living with an unreasonable man. Women are lucky who get an opportunity to complete their studies, find a good job and a docile husband. They will however, continue to be half witnesses. Recommend

  • Asma Sethi

    The writer have highlighted some serious concerns. No matter, what socio-economic class we belong to, many in our society have blocked minds when it comes giving freedom to women; here I am talking about freedom to think, dream, aim, and acquire. Intellectual and emotional freedom.

    Possessing a Master’s degree and to be able to contribute, my parents are intimidated by my views of life, dreams and future goals to acquire and achieve. Marriage is a great institution, which fulfills human needs of companionship with other important needs, but the outlook towards this institution is absurd. Making it happen by force, will result in poor quality of relationship, resulting in broken marriages.

    If you are not happy, you cannot create happiness. If you are not at peace with yourself, you can not create peace.

    Most of the injustices made towards girls are due to social norms. ‘Cultural Islam’ views are used as a support the society’s norms, the basis of which is lack of empathy, double standards and ignorance. And it is high time, we get out of the ‘majority is authority’ mentality. Revolutions took place when unjust and unrealistic norms were challenged, and this change initiative was brought by the few wise ones.

    Women companions of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH actively participated in wars – distributed food and water, brought them from the battle ground to cure their wounds, gave advice to the men of the family (and this participation was encouraged), exceled in religious studies and taught students who grew up to become scholars, engaged in international trade, were experts in the field of medicine, surgery, mathematics and geometry, agricultural operations and social work; many were also writers and philosophers. (Read Biography of Women Companions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH for names and their contribution in all fields). ‘Means to spend’ does not only mean to spend wealth but to make contributions through skills, abilities and unique talent that God has blessed everyone with. (everyone: women and men both). We are all created for a bigger purpose and that is not restricted to getting married.

    Another problem is people’s obsession with power and control. We forget that as humans we only control the process, and need to focus on creating the means with good intention, compassion and articulation, while leaving the results to God.

    Women (and men) need to educate ourselves intellectually and Emotionally – should be learned enough to engage in a dialogue; need to be self-assured, learn to be tactful and know that God has made them intelligent and wise to be able to give their best contribution in various professions and academic disciplines, from creating a healthy society, to building a happy home and raising morally sound, responsible adults.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    Why is a woman at the age of 28/29 years socially old when physically and biologically she is perfectly young?

    I really doubt the bold part. Are you sure that she is biologically perfectly young when touching 30s? Just compare the age she reaches puberty (10 – 14 ) and the age you are suggesting her to marry. And Do I really need to remind you about the harmonal teenagers around? Do you want every one to suppress the sexual desires? Look, marriage is an institution that offers men and women a safe way to realize and satisfy their sexual needs. Marriage , unfortunately in our society , bounds the women to home and also the limits option for men in many ways. That area should be reworked rather than delaying the marriage process itself and making gurls and guys starve of their sexual desires. Rapes and watching porn are the outcomes where masses are deprived of their sexual desires.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I liked the way you built the argument and then constructed the question …. why is it so ?
    You have, in my view, also answered the question in your write up when you blame societal, cultural pressures and a limited world view.
    How will this change ? ……..when girls like Malala and yourself speak out.Recommend

  • Dr. Anon

    Overcoming so many obstacles to end up with the enviable position of working and being independent as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
    I guess it’ll be the topic of another blog as to how working women actually fare- are their lives the dreams they thought it would be..ask any woman who’s unfortunate enough to be good looking and how her male bosses,colleagues and juniors interact with her even if she’s a doctor ..that’s another story.Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Its a very important issue raised by Yousra. The families in Pakistan should stop treating their daughters like a burden. The families should treat their daughters with respect. At the same time the girls and their families should also treat any potential suitors and their families with respect and vice versa. The problem is showing lack of respect, be it your daughter or a potential suitor..or your son or a potential bride. Recommend

  • Mehreen

    I can totally see where Yousra is going with this. I went through something of a similar nature when I was younger. I wasn’t the brightest or the smartest in my class but I always wanted to work and make something out of my life. My parents were amazing and supported me in attaining my dreams. I got into a good university and went through a four year program and ended up with a BSc. in Economics. I then had the fortune of attaining a Master’s degree from abroad. It’s when I came back I was pressured by my family to get married. I just ignored what they said, found myself a job and worked hard.I married at 32 and had a child at 34. I am still working and happy. I am very tired at the end of each day but I am content with my lot. I thank God each day that although I listened to what my parents said I didn’t agree to it. I think its hard for us girls to lead an independent life but we must try.

    1)Men, parents, family and society on the whole is scared of educated and confident women.

    2) We often have to fight out for what we want in life, but we can do it with grace and also listen to family members (just not necessarily agree to it).

    3) You can have marriage and children after thirty

    4) Ignore the negativity around you and focus on what you want out of life. Recommend

  • danny boy

    you are absolutely right … which should never let our girls dream and have ambitions in the first place….Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Dr. Anon: “ask any woman who’s unfortunate enough to be good looking and how her male bosses,colleagues and juniors interact with her even if she’s a doctor”

    Most women use good looks to their advantage. Looks like you see your good looks as a problem for you. You can control how people treat you. If you act “friendly” men may mistake as a sign for your willingness for some thing more.

    Your happiness is created inside you by yourself.

    Happiness is not in a Mercedes, a big house, going to USA. You can have all the luxuries and still be the most miserable person.Recommend

  • Educated Mind

    @All and Mirza Abeer,
    That is a sick mentality ‘Around 30 yrs the childbearing years left are few..’ In western countries, women start family in their 40s and live their married lives happily.

    Hazrat Khadijah (R.A) married our holy Prophet (PBUH) at the age of 40, Hazrat Muhammad PBUH was 25 years old at the time of this marriage. They had 6 children, all born after the age of 40 (woman’ age).

    All these limits are man-made and they have their flaws. Today we have a number of unmarried women around us, reason is so simple, we have limited our choices by following man-made laws like her age, her looks, high education, high status of parents, dowry, cast, etc.Recommend

  • gp65

    Excellent blog. This is a genuine problem in the subcontinent though girls in upper middle class urban families n India are pushing back.

    The biggest problem is lack of role models for single women. Hence people always say, okay, you will manage while you are working but what will you do in old age. The thing is in old age your spouse maybe no more. The other point is companionship. No doubt that is valid to an extent but not all couples are well adjusted and marriage does not always give you companionship. In fact a woman in a bad marriage maybe more lonely then awell adjusted single. Finally most social events are designed around couples and singles are made to feel the odd person out.

    Thus the issue is not just economic but has many social dimensions that need to be addressed.Recommend

  • binger

    first thing you know, you are asking a lot of questions
    second thing you know, you are complaining a lot
    third thing you know, you don’t want to leave your personal life
    fourth thing you know, you are afraid of taking real responsibilitiesRecommend

  • Mujahid Torwali

    I appreciated the writer, she belongs to swat and having very keen knowledge and practice with case. But the typical Pashtoons will never understand the issue. they just consider their daughters as burden.. Leep it up Madam.. Recommend

  • http://na deep

    if you have a daughter – you have the power to make a difference in her life. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Personal choice should be made on this topic but in unwellfare society parents feels burden
    there daughters and make a decision early so before there death they goes to there homes

  • hahhahaha

    best write up from SwatRecommend

  • hate speech

    its true that Pashtoon has the lowest divorce rate but how much women violence cases are reported in pushtoon society? and how much divorce are reported in the courts? do u know about the daat?Recommend

  • looser

    its not just the tragedy of Swat but everywhere in Pakhtun socityRecommend

  • lost

    good blog from the land where once militants trimphRecommend

  • mental

    @Misha: i think the writer is talking about commonality not individuals, she is talking about 50% of pakhtun society.Recommend

  • patriarch

    u want to inject feminism in the readers mind.(wink)Recommend

  • Fibha

    God its so damn true.In our society people who were all awed by your academic accomplishments in the beginning and who always praised and had encouraging words for you, will start looking at you with pity in just a few years after your graduation.They will ask you weird questions and will try their best to make you feel uncomfortable out there as if you are an alien and a miserable one.And yes our society and its norms are all man made and by man I mean a guy not a woman.Over centuries they have instilled this idea of a perfect women into our minds and its never ever gonna change.and btw west is a little different but no security for women there either.Now you have to decide whether you want to play safe and be with the world or you make your own world and make your own principles and follow your dreams.All the very best to you.Recommend

  • Hira J

    The problem is not getting married at young or older age but the fact that we set our children’s mind towards career and goals they have to achieve in order to become ‘successful’ and later expect them to abruptly change their thinking to “be practical” and get married for a so-called secure future. If only we could educate our children such that they were able to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes rather than blaming their elders for the problems in their lives, then the whole scenario would be different than it is now.

    But the positive thing is that the present generation has become aware of the flaws in the traditional thinking of their elders and it signifies a change, a good one. This blogpost itself is an example. Thumbs up for the writer !! Recommend

  • Insaan

    How many such women you know who have married at the age of 35-40 and have 6 kids?.
    A girl in 20’s have lot more energy to take care 3-4 kids at a time then a 40 year old woman.
    There are no man made laws about age, looks, education, dowry, cast or financial status.Recommend

  • Saima


    Whatever other comments on this blog have to say, i really think this was a genuine and honest piece of writing and criticizing someone for writing her genuine feelings like that is uncalled for. I can very much relate with your confusions and inhibitions regarding marriage, not being satisfied with the sort of proposals you mentioned you got and even with the general fear of marriage itself, given the sort of society we live in and the fear of meeting up to silly and at times totally absurd expectations of one’s in laws. A woman should, after all, prepare herself for all sorts of criticism from the husband who one feels is not intellectually upto mark with her. Learn to face criticism from inlaws for things like wanting to continue a career or even visiting parents.

    But i do salute for this: being brave enough to accept a proposal at an age in your life which really is important–for a woman’s marriage in our society. I salute you for your courage in being able to put aside all your fears and making an effort to take that plunge–which, though really unfair, will prove to be the right decision in the long run.. In sha Allah.

    Many of us fail to take that step…out of all these genuine reasons…but later think that in the unjust society we inhabit, the lesser unjust option is the better one. Think that after this age, you would get worst proposals…and we all know how ugly it can get here ( when men demand compliant and obedient wives no matter what her background and academic and professional achievements). I do think we need to bring up our daughters in ways that let them choose a life partner for themselves at the right time. Bring them up with confidence in themselves so that they know they can make the right decision for themselves and don’t have to go through the phase of waiting for an appropriate proposal.

    All the best.Recommend

  • hafsa

    well every body’s supporting writers thought, well i do also thumbs up for her. But we really in a need of solution….. we really have to come up into a point why a women is being forced to get married just because our parents are under social pressure?
    Why Society has been behaving this way particularly to girls?
    Why in the world they can’t take their own decisions?
    Why she is assumed save with a person with a tag of US no matter what he is doing there how he got there? Recommend

  • KAY

    Its very easy. Every girl has the right to be married at her prime age. She should be supported to complete her education and follow a career ( if she wants) by her husband and in-laws. For children, there are nurseries to take care every where ( i dont know about Pakistan). Now a days educated couples make 2 to 3 children. ( 2 kids are the best). Another important thing is that a gap of 3-4 years should be given between pregnancy to give couples time to properly organize themselves health wise and wealth wise.Recommend

  • Np

    So why does a man need to have 6 kids? Why do they even need 3-4 kids – isn’t population explosion a major problem? If man is ok with 2 kids, that should be no problem for a woman of 30 to handle.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Yours is the best comment on this blog. Clear, succinct and actionable.

    However what you say can is easier to implemet perhaps in an urban setting where the girl has a hope of finding a job and supporting herself economically and also where society is at least willing to tolerate a single unescorted woman moing about on her own.

    Of course a girl like Malala stood up and her father supported her even when the conditions were not ideal but they were swimming against the tide and willing to pay a very high price for doing so. Not everyone is willing to pay such a price. Such girls at least deserve our empathy.

    @Ali Tanoli

    Yes what you say is certainly a contributory factor but even if a girl is economically independent, still her parents feel very pressured to get her married, so it is not just an economic issue but also being willing to go against social expectations and valuing one’s child’s happiness more than worrying about false pride. After all the fathers who do honour killing are not really so concerned about just seeing their daughters settled are they?Recommend

  • Dr.N

    @ Insaan

    It’s not always ‘friendly’ women who face the issue you replied to.I relate to what the doctor said.When I was a house surgeon,our paediatrics professor refused to sign a very pretty fellow housesurgeon’s completion certificate,till she went out with him in the evening after hospital hours.Not only was this Prof.married,but he was old enough to be our grandfather too.She refused to oblige..and she was no ‘friendly’ person…just the opposite-very serious girl. People misbehave even if you’re not ‘friendly’..esp. male bosses.Recommend

  • dr umer khan babar

    Actually the issue raised is common to all Pakistanies but very particular to Pashtun society. To my understanding, a misnomer prevails about getting education, you can listen people, while saying that education is a bacon of light which illuminates the environment for the people living there in. This could be an angle of description about education, actually education helps in raising the capacity of person for doing work. We get education, usually in a traditional way to gather degrees. My understanding is that education helps firstly to differentiate good from the bad secondly we raise our capacity for being more productive both qualitative and quantitatively but the most important role that education plays is helping you in taking to the level of self perfection. Actually when our parents send a girl to educational institutions,they hold in thier subconscious that okay, my daughter should get education till her age of marriage and creation of independent home, there are very few who think that if she is skilled, in case of untoward situation she would be in a position to earn her livelihood she will not be dependent and burden on anyone. Therefore when she reaches to the mature age of marriage according to Pakistani standard i.e. 25 years of age, the agony of parents take start. It is not out of hate but love, parents want all their children to make their homes before their demise. Mostly they don’t know that besides better earning, education creates sense of responsibility in a person to contribute in the National development and reach the level of perfection an innate human requirement. Therefore the generation gape comes into play, the child thinks one-way, whereas the parents otherwise and hence tussle, anger and complaint. pattan society is proportionately more conservative and hence the difference is more sharp.


  • Bitter Reality


  • Fibha

    Same goes for men.but why no pressure on them?why a man in 40s will easily get a girl in 20s even age limits for them.Infact I have seen well educated and financially independent woman marrying a guy who doesnt have a decent job just so she could feel secure in the society and people around them wont point fingers at her now and then. @InsaanRecommend

  • Insaan

    @Working Woman: “Marriage , unfortunately in our society , bounds the women to home and also the limits option for men in many ways.”

    How marriage limits option for men in many ways? Recommend

  • hypocrite

    pukhtuns are against violence against women though they don’t kills their daughters they don’t force them for marriages and they don’t took money by giving them to any body on the highest bid…such hypocrite comment from one of a pakhtoon.Recommend

  • handsome forever

    a sparrow parish,a lamb is slaughtered and a girl is suppressed who cares!Recommend

  • hater

    i dont know what the writer wants to say…but this is clear the Pakhtun are the most liberal people in Pakistan and i can prove this.Recommend

  • northern

    gurls either cry for equality or for ur rights.Recommend

  • sailab

    the writers should come up with many other issues beyond the feminism, there are so many other issues to be discussed.i don’t know why people comment more on feminist issue yet alone no one talks about the issues faced by men in this society.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Yes madam in the society we are living in that’s what it is….Recommend

  • Silver Lining

    This is, no doubt, the dilemma of today’s educated girls, it really is. “Why did we get so much education when in the end this was what it all ends to?”

    When I thought about it I came to realize that with this education we have got a tool…a tool that can be used for some good or for supporting our family if a need arises. A tool, a power.
    But then what was the purpose? What really were my dreams? To go work 9 to 5 and get a pay check at the end of a month? Was that what it was all about? No…that sounds too..shallow. What about this: to bring about a positive change in myself, in my community…employment and being independent was not the prime thing personally for me, so that’s an added bonus in a way!

    And I got all those things from my education…education never goes to waste, it teaches you so so much. And as for the financial independence it never was the goal/responsibilty of a woman. Our beautiful religion has given that responsiblity to the man; father, husband or brother…why are we taking extra burden on ourselves? Who wants to take on extra assignments in the course when there aren’t any bonus marks for it in the final grade? See what I mean….for our real exam; for our Hereafter… why take on something that takes away your focus and attention from the real important things that matter…?

    Our problem is that we do no know our purpose of life that our Creator, the One who gave us everything has given us. From where we came…where we are headed…where we all will go in the end. And so we find other things to fill that “mission statement” and when the life moves on we love blaming on others for not allowing us to pursue our dreams…what were our dreams? How do they fit in with the big picture of our life? We really need to ponder on it.Recommend

  • Nobody

    What a well cloaked sexist comment. It’s amazing how important Islamic studies is for women only pertaining to marriage and such yet men get a free pass. And don’t fool yourself into thinking the low divorce rate is because women are living in bliss.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    For those who say “they can’t deliver babies if they cross 30”, Aishwarya Rai gave birth when she was 38! Kate Middleton gave birth at the age of 31. Perhaps, Pakistani men have more biological problems than women. No wonder we see so many “Baray hakeem sahabs’ clinics” all over the city.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Mirza Abeer:
    Women have no trouble conceiving near 40 nowadays. That dreaded 30 benchmark as “old” and dried up and no longer able to have babies is so outdated. Most women in developed nations have their babies later now and are far better prepared for it. Furthermore, nations with a population problem (such as Pakistan) need to breed LESS and part of the problem is on the subcontinent, women start having babies far too early hence the population being out of control. And wrinkly old men marrying little girls is simply a perversion in our sexist culture. Men (some, not all) want moldable and obedient wives, not grown women. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Mirza Abeer:
    And for the record, the last guy I dated proposed to me and he is 2 years younger than me. Some men see women as more than baby popping vending machines. Don’t group all men into your narrow little world. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Working Woman:
    Yes, in an educated society a woman of 30 is for all purposes considered YOUNG. Most of the older women I know had their babies after 30 31 with men their own age. Those babies are all healthy and perfectly functioning. It’s 2013, not 1013. The problem in Pakistan and most Asian countries is that women are considered old and ragged at 30. It’s cultural hogwash and that’s the reason people use to justify marrying off 20 year old girls to 30+ men. Senseless.
    I understand from a religious perspective why some people prefer to marry younger for sexual reasons; however that argument applies to both men and women, yet oddly enough you rarely see 20 year old men being married off to prevent them from “straying” so am I to understand that notion only applies to women as seems evident in the subcontinent? Recommend

  • Nobody

    Does the same apply to the energy level of men? Or do they have some never ending energy supply into their 40’s? The problem with these “rules” is they seem to only apply to women. Hence the situation around us being what it is. Most women have no problem having children in their 30’s. When did 30 become old and decrepit? Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I hate to disrupt the debate but just wanted to say –
    @Nobody : So good to see you back on ET. hugsRecommend

  • nikhil manek

    its so sad that woman have to suffer so much. we men have special responsibility to help them, situation of women india is also equally bad, so both governments can work togetherRecommend

  • caliban

    women in every part of Pakistan are suppressed though if she belongs to upper middle class, its their destiny…Recommend

  • thermo

    @Insan: how the marriages doesn’t limit options for women?Recommend

  • reality

    women in Pukhtun society are enjoying a great respect rather then they are enjoying in other cultures.Recommend

  • samjotha

    a successful cloth merchant with daily income of Rs10, 000… a UK return guy who had to come back as they won’t extend his visa but he has that UK tag… HR officer in a local NGO…. An MBBS doctor …. beautiful linesRecommend

  • Sami

    a better write up from pakistan writer, need more from people in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sanjay

    not just in Pakistan but even girls in India are suppressed for marriages at early ages and were told that if they didn’t get married til 22 then they would not be able to get a good man which acts as lethal argument for them about the safety of their future.Recommend

  • Gulfam

    the writer is explaining the situation of Swat only or the rest of Pakistan also?because its not just the issue we are facing but every where in the world.Recommend

  • goof

    the writer is naive enough to highlight those issues which can never be solved in a society like this.Recommend

  • gulab Khan

    we the people from north have given enough liberty to our girls but its the other thing that they don’t get opportunities due to lack of facilities.Recommend

  • militant

    women in the shape of mother are the best known example of liberty and authority in our society but i don’t know y no one didn’t mention it in their comments???????Recommend

  • Kapistan

    people in K-P are concern with marriages at early age that’s why most of the favour to find a young girl for their sons which leads to the distraction of girl from opinion can be disagreed.Recommend

  • Fade

    women, women, women why no one talks about men anymore? don’t they suffer don’t they have to left their education?Recommend

  • Iqbal Yousafzai

    men in pakhtun society are more suffering then women…if one wants to know visit Fata.Recommend

  • jBs

    i am totally against this write up as it highlights women issue and targets parents who sacrifices their everything for their children to enable them to move in society.Recommend

  • Gudu

    can the author write about something else?Recommend

  • solo

    y every female writer talks about feminism?Recommend

  • Ghulam

    Only education can change the system, can change the mindsetRecommend

  • Ghulam

    Only “Our”education can change the system, can change the mindsetRecommend

  • ibn-e-Ghulam

    we don’t need any more parental care,,,,,,,,,,,Recommend

  • Kalim

    @author: come up with something on women abuses in Swat next time.Recommend

  • khun

    don’t know where these feminist thoughts would end and wt will be there their result.Recommend

  • Armie

    y these people are so mad and chasing the poor parents everywhere?Recommend

  • Avanti

    good and informative writing from the area infested with terrorism.Recommend

  • Sameed

    Wonderful blog and shows the true picture of whats happening to our girls’ ambitions ,My dear fellow this is our culture and even with education it will take atleast a generation or two to amend, i wish women in our society can be what they want rather than giving in to society’s norms. This mentality that woman belongs in the kitchen, 30 year old woman is unmarriagable, woman cant survive without husband bla bla needs to be eradicated. But honestly and sadly I dont see it coming Recommend

  • gp65

    @Parvez: “How will this change ? ……..when girls like Malala and yourself speak out.”*

    Indeed girls like Malala and the author must speak up. But they must not be the only ones speaking up. Men like you and all men who want their sisters and wives and daughters to stand tall must speak up. The world never changes when the victims or oppressed alone speak up.

    Look at the wonderful example set by these Swedish women.

    There was an earlier equally famous gang rape in India in 1982 and lots of women’s organisations and NGOs protested and came out in the street but nothing much changed. This time the men too came out. Lo and behold the government was forced to act with alacrity and even passed legislation updating outdating laws and also issued new guidlines for police procedures to be followed in investigating all rape cases.Recommend

  • Dr. Obaidullah

    I am a professionally educated and married one of my classmates….. at an early age (meaning much earlier than 30) and now have beautiful family of four children. Getting married before 30 is the key to ensuring a healthy family as the number of risk factors increase for children with maternal age. However, marriage in no way ever hindered further education of my wife who is now a successful and practising gynecologist. She did take off sometime from her studies and profession while raising young kid.

    The difference is in perspective as to what is more important to you. This wisdom, unfortunately comes with age. The most important aspect of life is building a future. That future comes with contributing to the society in the form of well raised and educated children. An educated mom can boost a society and transform a family. Jobs, profession and further education is not hindered by a few years of contribution to raising a good family! Recommend

  • pinky

    most men dont want to educate their girls because theyt are afraid of them like taliban afraid from Malala YousafzaiRecommend

  • sanguin

    though its late but not for ever, even if stil most of the parents tried to stop practicing this custom many girls can be saved.Recommend

  • MIS

    Come rishta time, and you shockingly realize how the society defines your worth by marriage, completely ignoring the person you are and your accomplishments. Any and everything to do with marriage: How many rishtas you’re scoring, how young you were when the rishtas started coming, how rich or affluent a husband you bagged, how well he treats you, how much he spends on you! Add these and other related things up…that’s your sum worth!

    Your educated and otherwise rational parents start worrying if you’ve turned 23 and haven’t had a suitable rishta. If you have half a brain and are not gifted with a renewable emotional energy reservoir to counter every Farzana, Durdana & Shahana Auntie’s criticism (not to mention the peer pressure) in the long run, you weigh your options and say Yes to a reasonable rishta! Never mind that you are not ‘ready for a relationship’ (that’s an Angraiz concept anyway), never mind that you wanted to go for a Doctorate (Haye, PHD kar ri aay tay viyah nahin hoya?).

    We live in a society where the educated mother of a highly accomplished single 31-year old daughter says, “pata nahin bechari kahan kahan k dhakkay khaaye gi.” as if her relationship status is the only determinant of her future and her happiness. Recommend

  • Insaan

    I know at least 20 Pakistani families and a few Afghan families in the city I live in USA. Almost all of the women in those families WORK. Some of them do CHILDCARE at home and make more money then their husbands.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Nobody: Does the same apply to the energy level of men? Or do they have some never ending energy supply into their 40′s? The problem with these “rules” is they seem to only apply to women. Hence the situation around us being what it is. Most women have no problem having children in their 30′s. When did 30 become old and decrepit?

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman having a kid when she is in 30s.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Sarah B. Haider: The world’s oldest known mother of triplets is a woman who lives in Haryana, India, and is 66 years of age. Even more amazing is the fact that Bhateri Devi had been childless for 44 years of marriage and conceived via artificial insemination. The two healthy boys and one girl were born this past May at Hissar’s National Fertility Center (NFC).

    Just search the Internet to get more details.Recommend

  • billy pilgrim

    getting married is no pressure compared to the pressure of finding a well paying job and saving enough so you can even propose to an average looking/half educated girl. Everyone wants MBBS doctors or Foreign graduates who make over 900000 per year amirite?

    being a woman in pakistan sucks….news at 11.Recommend

  • Saima


    I think so too… enough with all the issues women have to face right? But maybe it is because the same issues we have been ranting on for years and years never seem to come to an end?
    I do agree with you though. I am sure men also face scores of issues. Would like to read on them. Hope some MAN takes the initiative to write about them. Blogs are, you see, the author’s personal choice. If a man feels compelled to write, he can do so. How about you begin doing it?Recommend

  • Noor-Ul-ain

    I totally agree with you , these are all man made restrictions. Man has wrongly considered himself to be the ultimate master in this world, and want to excercise his powers over poor, innocent women. Women are deprived of even their fundamental rights, and are treated as an article of trade, which could be bought and sold at will of their masters . Marriage is not an end to life, every individual has the right to live, be happy, to struggle for the dreams… Life is extremely precious :-) don’t waste it…
    I am really inspired by your blog Yousra.
    Keep it up :-)

  • mind control

    Being a woman: Why does marriage equal lifetime security?

    Does it?

    Have you banned Triple Talaq?

    And has the Domestic Violence Bill been passed?Recommend

  • mind control

    @Mirza Abeer:

    Most men want younger wives so its as simple as that. For many 29-30 is an unacceptable age for a bride.

    Can you tell me what was the age of Hazrat Khadijah (s.a) , and the age of the Prophet (SAW), when they got married?


  • Working Woman


    @Working Woman: “Marriage , unfortunately in our society , bounds the women to home and also the limits option for men in many ways.”

    How marriage limits option for men in many ways?

    In our society, where a woman is destined to house chores and bound to home after marriage, It also puts a big financial responsibilty on a man’s shoulder. If he isn’t a big executive yet or a son of Stable Father, He too has to leave Educational opportunities to focus more on his job & fullfill the responsibilty of his new family.

    In some way or the other, his social life is impacted too. Recommend