Early marriages restrict women participation in social, economic activities: survey report

ISLAMABAD:A survey conducted by Punjab Commission on Status of Women here Thursday reveled that early marriages and early motherhood restrict choices for women to participate in any kind of activity.

According to survey report, women in general and young women in particular face barriers that restrict their economic mobility and work. In Punjab, 47 percent of women are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET) rate.

Women feel their lack of qualifications, lack of appropriate job and training opportunities, domestic work responsibilities, inadequate promotion opportunities, lack of transport and accommodation, family and conduct of male colleagues are the major barriers, it added.

It said that 31 percent of women are in labor force but only one third are in paid employment, 34 percent of women have computer literacy with only 21 percent have access to the internet.

Punjab has population of 110 million, with 49 percent women in which literacy rate is 69 percent for the young women compared to 80 percent for men.

Survey reveled that 16 percent of women are married before 18 and only 3 percent of young women are married before age of 15 or 12 percent gave birth before age of 18.

Pakistan have lower secondary school enrollment of girls as compared to other countries, survey said.

Survey shows that about 9.5 percent of young women have attained a B.A degree and above, of which 17 percent are urban, compared to 4.8 percent of their rural peers.

Around 11 percent of economically active young women are unemployed and actively searching for job and unemployment is higher for women with degrees, survey reveled

Survey stressed that there is a need to improve opportunities for education, employment and civic engagement to enhance young women potential and ability to exercise their rights.

There is also need for freedom from violence through enhanced state prevention, protection and redress mechanisms and mass media campaign should target changing young women’s behavior.