August 19, 2016

The mixed blessing of late marriages

Myanmar, like other Asian nations, has undergone changes in its marriage patterns over the last few decades. In Myanmar, these changes include the rising prevalence of delayed marriage among both men and women and the practice of permanent celibacy among women in particular.
One factor that drives later marriage is the rising level of education among women. A related factor is the growing trend of women pursuing professional careers. Years of schooling and climbing the professional ladder motivate women to put off marriage. This trend, combined with the rising use of contraceptive pills and greater awareness of contraceptive methods, is slowing the growth of Myanmar’s population; it is expected to reach replacement level soon. A shrinking population poses the threat of labour shortages and aging populations.
It is worth noting here that the rising age of first marriage has implications for adolescent reproductive health. It is true that Myanmar has birth spacing programmes. However, they only serve married couples. With the average age of first marriage rising, more adolescents who remain single are out of reach of these programmes and services. As Myanmar culture does not accept the practice of single parenthood, unwanted pregnancies usually end in induced abortions, which is a major cause of maternal mortality.
On the other hand, the positive side of late marriage is that women can be empowered with more active roles in the community and in the development of their nation. Nevertheless, it also means that women are generally having children at a later age. The bright side is that there will be fewer adolescent pregnancies, which can be dangerous. On the other hand, more women will be giving birth at later ages, which also presents significant health risks for both mothers and children.
In view of these trends , The Global New Light of Myanmar would like to urge the relevant authorities to conduct the appropriate interventions by formulating population polices in order to ensure safe delivery of children, freedom from unwanted pregnancies, alternatives to induced abortions and an equitable place for women in the workplace.


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