Rafed English

Why are There More Women of Marriageable Age than Men?

Though the birth rate of girls is not higher than that of boys, yet there are more women of marriageable age than men. The reason is clear. The mortality rate of men is higher. Deaths usually occur at the age when man should normally be the head of a family. If we take into consideration the deaths which occur following accidents such as, wars, drowning, falls, motor collisions etc. we shall find that most of the victims are men.

It is seldom found that woman is among the victims. Whether it is a case of a clash between human beings or between man and nature, most of the victims are male adults To know why the balance between men and women of marriageable age is upset it is enough to realise that since the beginning of human history there has not been a single day when wars have not been waged and men have not perished.

The casualties resulting from wars in the industrial age are a hundred times more than those which occurred in the hunting age or in the age of agriculture. During the last World War, the casualties numbered about seven million. You will agree with us if you calculate the casualties of the regional wars in the Far East, the Middle East and Africa during the past decade only.

Will Durant says that several factors have contributed to the decline of this custom (polygamy). Stable agricultural life has lessened the hardships and perils of the life of men, with the result that the number of men and women has almost equalised.

What Will Durant has said is quite amazing. Had the losses of human life been confined to the struggle of men against nature, there would have been a difference between the hunting age and the agricultural age. But the wars have taken a greater toll of men's lives and the number of war casualties has not gone down in any age. Further, the main reason why women have suffered less casualties is that men have always protected them and have themselves shouldered the most dangerous jobs. Thus like the hunting age disequilibrium has continued during the agricultural age also.

Will Durant has not uttered a word about the industrial age, though this is the period which has witnessed the greatest killings of men and during which the balance has been badly upset.

Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari

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