We may make endless claims that our Pakistani culture and religion respect women, however, the deep dark truth is that there is no respect, not even at a superficial level. Our upbringing is such that we quietly align ourselves with the patriarchal structure without daring to question it. But as a proud Pakistani, now we can definitely boast of achieving the coveted feat of the 4th most dangerous country for women in the world. Just to feel a little better we rank third from the last i.e., 150/153 as per the recent GIWPS rankings. Well nothing new, except for squashing it and terming it as propaganda against Pakistan or Muslim women worldwide this study too will be buried soon again in our minds.
It is said that traditionally we Pakistani women took sexism in our stride, accepting it as part of our conservative society? Did we or was it forced down our throats. Our spirit of inquiry, powers of reasoning and logic are stifled when we are young and if we dare say enough we lose our Islamic identity, how convenient. The irony is that after 69 years of independence our heads are still swinging obediently to our master’s command and are not lifting our heads and saying we have had enough. Probably we are waiting for some Farishta from Allah to fly us away, and till then we are allowing ourselves to be humiliated by the numerous fact sheets (on our deplorable state rather existence)by the so-called Satanic western countries where women are at least living a quality life without any gender bias.
Ladies lets be reasonable, why are we accepting our inferior status in Pakistani society. A life deprived of our dignity and respect is acceptable to most of us, but why? The rich and the middle-class women are left no behind because they have challenges of their own, each one fighting her own battle to stay relevant or rather simply exist in an arrogant male chauvinist Pakistani society.
Nowhere does Quran say that education, suppressing a woman’s natural desire to feed her family, or do something good for her community, or even just fulfil her own ambitions and needs for personal development is sin. The sexism and misogyny that riddles our society needs to be challenged.
The index by GIWPS includes 153 countries of which Pakistan has been ranked at 150th position on the bases of security and honour for women in a society. The study reveals that Pakistan ranks at 4th position in terms of lowest financial inclusion and highest discrimination against women only after Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.
A 19-year-old photographed after losing her first child because her in-laws did not give her permission to go to the hospital. She was in labour for five days.
This young woman, pictured with her mother, says she was kidnapped and raped. She says when she went to police, they raped her too. She is now at a shelter and vows to help other women change Pakistan.
A woman in labour rushed to the emergency room in Pakistan, where 30,000 women die every year in childbirth, in part because they do not have a right to seek medical care without permission from their husband’s families.
We the women in Pakistan need to demand change and challenge our political, social and religious institutions. Women from all religions suffer from similar problems. Violence is universal and nothing has been done about it. It is high time we accept that women’s rights in Pakistan have failed because of our culture of intolerance and impunity. And we should stop boasting of it until we have no more cases of innocent Zainab or rebellious Qundal Baloch in Pakistan.
07 Feb 2017/Wednesday. firstname.lastname@example.org