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Shadi or Parhai - or BOTH?


In Pakistan, females have been married at early ages, which has resulted in them not pursuing their education further. Once married, their educational journey tends to halt, as marriage takes precedence, leading to a life trajectory centered around marital responsibilities, including starting a family. Marriage as an idea becomes a phenomenon superseding all other events of the female’s life. This has led to the formation of an opinion within people’s minds that marriage means no more education, and young individuals who want to get married are asked why they wish to discontinue their education.

While it is understandable that marriage is a huge responsibility to bear and becomes a massive part of one’s short-term and long-term plans, it means you are not studying anymore, which takes the notion too far. Before marriages occur, in countries like Pakistan, the strict environment leads to a lack of healthy blooming of relationships that have yet to turn into marriage. The lack of options regarding getting married early creates a last resort – to have a secret relationship. This causes the children to, therefore, move away from their parents in most cases and become an alienated entity to foster their relationship. Perhaps the notion of education being possible and attainable during marriage should be spread so more individuals get married early and are not forced to hide their relationships from authority figures such as parents.

In countries such as the USA, marriages between young individuals have been normalized. However, the subcontinental belt promotes marriages where the female may be younger (even a minor), but the male needs to be settled. Furthermore, the expectations attached to the female hinder her growth, especially regarding her educational aspirations.

Young couples, therefore, are forced to finish their degrees before they can let their parents know of their love interest. Is having at least an undergraduate degree an excellent prerequisite to set for children? Past 18, young females and males should be able to decide whether they want to get married, finish the degree, and get married later, or do both simultaneously. This freedom allows for higher rates of accountability, the production of fewer males who are man-children, and an increased feeling of agency and authority.

Upon being asked the average age for the female getting married, Chatgpt says, “In urban areas and among more educated or affluent families, the age of marriage tends to be higher, with women marrying in their early to mid-20s or even later, as they pursue education and career opportunities” which reaffirms how deeply rooted the ideally of the pursuit of education and marriage being mutually exclusive is.


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Neiha A. Siddiqui
Neiha A. Siddiqui
Dec 01, 2023

In Pakistan, the merging of marriage and education analyzes and stimulates a reevaluation of traditional conventions, calling for a more inclusive and flexible strategy that allows individuals to negotiate education and marriage according to their own objectives and timetables. But I feel like in Pakistan we simply cannot let the class differences go unnoticed in all of these discussions. The class and status difference is MASSIVE in Pakistan, i am thinking now– have we even moved past the feudal times truly?

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Sara Masood
Sara Masood
Dec 01, 2023

Hi Reesha, maybe you did not understand the thesis of my blog – it is to allow marriage and education to co-exist and not become limitations for one another. It was not to put marriage front in a negative light – or to put education in a purely saviour light. Marrying your daughters early is fine unless they’re minors or they’re not willing. Early marriage is okay – this was a part of my blog. It should be normalized, and young adults should be able to continue with their self-growth and education alongside their marriage. “at least let them pursue education in future” sounds like a deal being made – but this is not how this blog negotiates it. The…

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I sincerely appreciate your insights on how marriage and pursuing education can co-exist. While I largely agree with the first half of your blog post, as you mention how mainstream society views education as an act that can only take place till a girl is unmarried, I would like to differ with your view that "past 18, young females and males should be able to decide" on the options of pursuing education, getting married or do both of them simultaneously. While it is true that some freedom should be given to young adults, I disagree with you that individuals aged 18 would be in a position to make such life-changing decisions as marriage. In addition, contrary to what you have…

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Sara Masood
Sara Masood
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

Hi – your comment was super insightful and I learnt a lot from it. I agree to a lot of what you say however we need to recognize that there are flaws in the other side of the debate that you make.

Firstly – the connection between age and decision making. The reason why I think it should be 18 is because that’s when people become adults and take up many other responsibilities. If we keep our children glued to ourselves (like what mos tpakistanis do) – they will turn out to be man children and extremely childish girls. We need to realize that this age has been recongised internatioannly for adulthood for a reason and perhaps trusting that a…

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Great post, this dilemma is constant in the Pakistani context where women are restrictive to study either before marriage and entirely depend on attaining education after marriage by the response of their in-laws. In economics this theory is categorised the human capital theory where attaining education and higher levels indulge you to get married later as you pursue your education. In Pakistan however, with the banner of early marriages and constant need to fit in households, women are restricted to pursue their studies. Your blog posts is quite well written and I would like to ask you how this question is only possible if you belong to a certain socioeconomic class, women in rural areas do not even have this…

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Sara Masood
Sara Masood
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

In rural Pakistan, money strongly shapes education and marriage for women.


Limited Education:

In rural areas, education opportunities are scarce, especially for women. UNESCO's data highlights a significant literacy gap between rural and urban women, with only 37% literacy among rural women in Pakistan compared to higher rates in cities.


Early Marriage:

Usually, more education means marrying later. But in rural areas where education is rare, women often marry young. Studies show rural women marry much earlier than urban women, some even before turning 18.


Financial Constraints:

Financial status heavily influences women's choices in education and marriage. Those from poorer backgrounds have limited control over their schooling or marriage decisions, often leading to early marriages decided by economic circumstances and…


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It's 2023 and yet problems like such still exist in our culture. What good does the technological progression of a country do when the mindset and cultural principles remain the same as decades ago. Your articles explores the cultural reputation of marriage really well. The fact that in situations where a girl does continue her education after getting married and does not limit herself to being the submissive housewife that our culture expects her to be, we find it worthy of praise. We don't realise that this is normal and should be treated as such instead of treating it as a rare occurrence. And even in such situations, it's always the husband who is commended first for "allowing" his wife…

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Sara Masood
Sara Masood
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

This is so true- it is a very sad reality for females because the standards of measurement are so different for men and women. Also, I have an anecdote about what you said. Your comment made me realize how I have internalized this idea too - of the husband being good enough to allow the studying. So my best friend is getting married and my phupo asked me if she will continue her education and what if she doesn't. To this I told her that I trust the man to make sure she does. It makes the man a enabler or rejecter of this idea which is highly problematic because he shouldn't exist in this equation or this decision. This…

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