"Who am I? Where am I?" Experiences of married young women in a slum in Islamabad, Pakistan

Hamid, Saima; Johansson, Eva; Rubenson, Birgitta
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p265
Academic Journal
Background: In Pakistan, 16% of the women aged 15-19 years are married. Many get married shortly after they attain menarche. This study explores the preparedness for and actual experiences of married life (inter-spousal relationship, sexual activity and pregnancy) among adolescent women. Methods: Among married adolescent women residing in a slum of Islamabad ten were selected with the help of a community health worker and interviewed qualitatively till saturation was reached. They were interviewed three times at different occasions. Narrative structuring was used to explore how the participants represented their background, social situation, decision making and spousal communication and how they explained, understood and managed married life and bore children. Results: Two categories identifying the respondents as either submissive-accepting or submissive-victims emerged. The married young women who belonged to the accepting group lived under compromised conditions but described themselves as satisfied with their situation. They were older than the other group identifying themselves as victims. However, none of the respondents felt prepared for marriage. Women belonging to the victimized group experienced physical and verbal abuse for their inability to cope with the duties of a wife, caretaker of the home and bearer of children. Their situation was compounded by the power dynamics within the household. Conclusion: Knowledge about sexuality could prepare them better for the future life and give them more control of their fertility. Adolescent development and life skills education need to be addressed at a national level. There is need for innovative interventions to reach out and provide support to young women in disadvantaged homes.


Related Articles

  • Clinical practice. Verhaeghe, Johan // European Journal of Pediatrics;Jun2012, Vol. 171 Issue 6, p895 

    In affluent societies, median age at menarche has dropped to below 13 years. Younger age at menarche is associated with earlier sexual activity. To avoid unintended teenage pregnancies, barriers to contraception provision must be kept low, i.e. availability without prescription or through a...

  • A cross-cultural examination of the relationship between ages at menarche, marriage, and first birth. Udry, J. Richard; Cliquet, R. L.; Udry, J R // Demography;Feb1982, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p53 

    Recent work with samples of black and white urban American women showed a clear behavioral sequence relating age at menarche to age at first intercourse to age at first birth. This paper shows that the linking of ages at menarche, intercourse, marriage, and first birth is a pattern which occurs...

  • ATTITUDES AND EXPERIENCES OF SEXUAL RELATIONS. Lundstrom, Anders // International Journal of Sociology of the Family;Jul78, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p231 

    The article examines the attitudes towards sex among students of sociology. The sample consists of 250 women and 206 men, median age of the men 20.5 years, of the women 22 years. The majority of respondents accept pre-marital coitus. The level of acceptance, however, is directly related to the...

  • The Master Craftsman's Guide to Sex. Strauss, Alix // Men's Health;Jul/Aug2001, Vol. 16 Issue 6, p106 

    Suggests different techniques and positions during a sexual intercourse. How to get the woman to orgasm; Way to get a woman pregnant; How to last through a sexual marathon.

  • The best ways to get pregnant. Fox, Marisa // Parenting;Jun/Jul99, Vol. 13 Issue 5, p108 

    Presents fertility experts' outline of the do's, dont's and don't-bother-with of getting pregnant. Helping sperm meet egg; Figuring out ovulation; Having frequent sex; Sex before ovulation. INSETS: Conception myths.;When to see a doctor..

  • Good sex, more babies. Gallia, Katherine // Natural Health;Jan/Feb99, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p24 

    Reports on the finding that enjoyment of sex may improve a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Presence of more sperm in the cervixes of women who reported high levels of arousal during sexual intercourse than in those of women who did not enjoy sex.

  • Sexual activity during pregnancy: a questionnaire-based study. Moodley, Jagidesa; Khedun, Shaun M. // Southern African Journal of Epidemiology & Infection;2011, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p33 

    The objective of the study was to determine changes in frequency of sexual activity during pregnancy. A prospective study was conducted using a structured questionnaire to interview 611 healthy pregnant women at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Data were analysed using descriptive...

  • letters.  // Midwifery Matters;Autumn2002, Issue 94, p21 

    Presents letters to the editor of the periodical 'Midwifery Matters.' Sexual intercourse during pregnancy and breastfeeding; Aquanatal during pregnancy.

  • Oh, Baby!  // Shape;May2011, Vol. 30 Issue 9, p119 

    This article discusses a University of Toronto study which states that healthy women can have intercourse even while pregnant and that semen contains hormones that help induce labor.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics