I am a 27 years old single woman, who, according to societal standards should be married with two or more children, so this post may be a little biased. Most little girls I know grew up with hopes that they would get married when they reached a certain age, preferably between 25 and 27. By the age of 20, girls are expected to know who they will marry and when they will marry. If a girl is still single at the age of 29, and there seems to be no hope of her marrying any time soon, everyone, including her, panics. When she reaches the age of 30 and is still unmarried, her chances of ever marrying, according to society, diminish because 30, is too old for woman to find a suitable husband.
I've read and witnessed the desperation that comes with not marrying at a certain age. A woman in her late twenties begins to worry about her biological clock, and comments like "you're getting old" from family and friends exacerbate the situation. In a patriarchal society, it is normal to put pressure on women to marry and have children because women are viewed as nothing more than wives and mothers. However, as much as this causes most women to suffer from societal and self-imposed pressure, women are the ones who decide how they will react to this pressure.
Women must bear some responsibility for this self-inflicted harm in the pursuit of marriage and children. When it comes to deciding when to marry and have children, women are not passive creatures. It is women who have been abused and taken advantage of when they go to pastors or witch doctors in the hopes of breaking curses and doing everything possible to prevent them from marrying. It is women who have gone to extremes, who have lost their senses in pursuit of men, who would not be considered eligible for marriage under normal circumstances.
Perhaps we could normalize the idea that women, like men, should marry when they are ready and whenever they want. People and society should accept that a woman can be 30 or 40 years old and still be unmarried. People have to understand that not everyone gets married with the intention of having children.
We must teach our girls, sisters, daughters, and friends that no-one should pressurize them into getting married just because of their age.