'Only 1% of young women decided about their own marriage in 2020', UN Young Women in Pakistan Status Report

The federal government's Center of Gender and Policy Studies (CGaPS) provided technical support in conducting the report's research and compilation.

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With support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan, the United Nations Women and the National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) launched The “Status Report 2020 on Young Women in Pakistan”.

The federal government\\’s Center of Gender and Policy Studies (CGaPS) provided technical support in conducting the report\\’s research and compilation.

Aliona Niculita, UNDP Pakistan Country Representative, said:

The socioeconomic benefits of educated, healthy, and empowered women are well documented, but women in Pakistan are consistently at a disadvantage compared to men.

The report\\’s findings state:

Education and Employment

  • 48 percent of young women aged 15-24 are not educated, employed, or enrolled in any kind of training. The statistics for men stand at 7 percent.
  • The employment status of young women says that only 6 percent are self-employed, work in agriculture, and 9 percent in non-agriculture sectors.
  • 32 percent of women are paid workers, and 52 percent of young women are unpaid family workers.
  • 61 percent of young women work in agriculture forestry and fishing, 21 percent in the manufacturing industry, and 16 percent in community, social, and personal services.
  • When we talk about employment by occupations, 11 percent work as professionals, 2 percent are services and sales workers, 52 percent skilled agricultural and fishery workers, 19 percent in craft and related trades, and 13 percent young women work in unskilled occupations.
  • 68 percent of young women are part of vulnerable employments.
  • 75 percent of young paid female workers are earning less than minimum wage. The median salaries per month are PKR 7,000 for young women and PKR 14,000 for young men.
  • The wage gap between men and women is 80 percent, one of the highest, for skilled agriculture workers, 65 percent in the manufacturing industry, and 17 percent for those with a BA degree or higher education.

Owning Assets

  • Less than 2 percent of young women own physical assets. Of all young women (married or unmarried), only 3 percent own agricultural land, and 2 percent own a house.

Decision Making and Empowerment

  • 24 percent of young women made decisions about their education and employment.
  • Only 1 percent could decide on their marriage alone, while the family is consulting 16 percent.
  • One-fourth of young women need permission to seek healthcare, while another 71 percent do not want to visit a health facility alone.
  • Less than one-third of women can decide about purchasing food and clothing.

Married Life

  • 49 percent of married, employed women reported control over their cash earnings, while only 9 percent have a say in how the earning of their spouse is used.
  • 29 percent of young women experience controlling behaviors by husbands, while 44 percent of young married women and men see no harm in wife-beating.
  • 15 percent of young women experienced physical abuse, and 4 percent experienced sexual non-spousal violence.
  • 14 percent of currently married young women reported physical abuse, and 4 percent reported sexual spousal violence in the last 12 months.
  • Overall, 28 percent of girls are married before 18 years of age.
  • 16 percent of young women became mothers before the age of 18 years.

Usman Dar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs, addressed the virtual launch of Young Women in Pakistan – Status Report 2020:

Empowering young women is the key to Pakistan\\’s sustainable social and economic development.

Humera Azam Khan, Secretary NCSW, remarked:

It is indeed a quintessential research report relevant to the present-day context, analytical in profile, and insightful in its recommendations.

The report recommends 33 percent women\\’s seats in local government to promote entry of young leaders from the grassroots and 33 percent women on all public and private sector boards and women\\’s quotas; and recognition of women 18 years and above as adults with full citizenship rights.

Khawar Mumtaz, Senior Researcher, and Activist and former Chair NCSW, said:

Female youth in Pakistan have not received much policy attention, and tomorrow\\’s citizens merit a due place in policy discourse.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.

  • The reality is it is now the men who are discriminated from schools till jobs , even in their private lives. The Urban elite woman is a “Badmaash” at the expense of her family……Men r boycotting studies n jobs. its high time that we stand with the men of our society otherwise it will all backfire.

  • Stop trying to mislead the women around the world in the name of freedom and choice. All you feminists have caused enough destruction already.

      • Ahmed Waseem beta, u r very cute and innocent child. You let uncles come to your house and enjoy with your family. That kind of enjoyment 99% of Pakistani’s neither want nor they will ever think of even if given a Billion dollars. You elite class do not represent the Middle or the lower class. Now dont act as if u r from Middle class.

        Im certain its bcoz of people like you that Iran and Afghanistan went from a progressive country to ruins now. as for every action there is an opposite and in this case in orders of magnitude reaction. Just look at how woman are strip searched in US on minor traffic violation.

        Yahaan per col ki biwi ki badmashee dekho aur Suzuki walee larkee joo kahtee thee”Meray saath Punjabi mein kyoon baat kee”??


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