Marriage may not be made in heaven nor has it promised us a rose garden - there can be lots of uncertainties in this institution. To some, marriage is a sacred act and with it comes the sanctified responsibilities towards the spouse and the offspring. Others may perceive it as nothing more than a contractual compulsion that can be made void through mutual consent.
Be that as it may, the welfare of women and children in the society should always be protected. A democracy advocates social equality and fairness among all its citizens. For Muslim women, their welfare could possibly be better protected with the recent amendment to Section 23(10) of the Islamic Family Law in the country. Men intending to take another wife will have to part with their property and provide alimony to their present wife.
In the case of the wife who is later abandoned by the husband, she then has the means to fend for herself and the children who are more often than not left in her custody. When women are deserted with no financial resources or no one to depend on, children are the ones who would become the extended victims.
This has considerably attributed to child poverty in our country. In reality, polygamy is not unconditional in Islam. It's only the people who are misguided into taking advantage of the circumstances to suit their impious desires.
In truth, child poverty is on the rise almost in all nations both in Islamic and non-Islamic countries. Child poverty does not only affect the poor nations. It also affects many of the developing and developed countries.
Parenthood is extremely important and is inextricably linked with child poverty. Studies have shown that the deterioration of marriage and family life has significantly contributed to child poverty.
This is because divorce and non-payment of alimony or child support by absent parents has considerably contributed to the poverty of custodial parents the female. This is more manifest in situations where women are economically dependent on men.
In most countries, individuals in female-headed families contribute to a growing proportion of the poverty population. In such a situation, the poverty spells of the children begin with birth and when the mother is divorced, they tend to last between 10 to 20 years. In fact, more than two- fifths of the non-elderly poor in some rich countries are children and many live in female-headed families.
In other words, children in female-headed families have been shown to be more vulnerable to poverty.
This culture of poverty among children can be reduced if women are given their due rights in a marriage or after the dissolution of a marriage, if they exposed to good education, and if they taught to be less financially reliant on men in the upbringing of their children.
In a society where marital instability becomes too widespread, there has to be a definitive law to protect women's rights and welfare. Women should equip themselves with adequate knowledge and should be ready to be part of the workforce.
Besides their welfare being protected under the law, a labour force that has the participation of women is equally essential towards overcoming poverty among them. These measures would inexorably lend a hand in curbing the spread-out effects of poverty to children.