Status of women -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Status of women

A woman is entitled to equal rights as citizen of Pakistan and is entitled to be protected by the state. The women constitute nearly 52 percent of the population in Pakistan, however considering their status they still look to be living in the Dark Ages. Their right for acquiring education and economic freedom is not encouraged. It is a matter of deep concern that being Muslims we have completely forgotten the status of women given to them by Islam. As per teachings of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) women are more respected and secure in Islam than in other faith. Islam is the first religion, which granted women all rights, 1400 years ago. In Arabia, before the advent of Islam, the birth of a female child was regarded as a great misfortune and shame, and cruel fathers buried them alive.

Islam elevated the position of woman in society and treated her on an equal footing with man, and in some cases, as a mother for instance, clearly gave her precedence over man. On an occasion when a man came to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and expressed his desire to join a military expedition, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked him if he had a mother. When he replied that he had, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) told him, “Stay with her, for paradise is at her feet.”

Everyone has the right to live with freedom and security. Since the creation of Pakistan the rights of women were ignored just as similarly as the rights of Pakistani to rule this country and decide the fate of their future. After the independence of Pakistan the socio-political system does not change, little or no reform were carried out and therefore the status quo of society remain the same as it was before. The feudal system is the system to be blame for humiliation, exploitation and cruelty with women. The right of women cannot be protected till we provide ample opportunities to them.

If we see that women is most exploited in the West, in the name of democracy and equal rights, the freedom allowed there is not for the protection of women from exploitation. Even in this modern world, a woman is being humiliated in the socio-economic and cultural front. Everybody is talking about women rights with special reference to job, education and equal opportunities in society. Women are being exploited even in the modern society.

The most exploited women are from the working class due to economic problems, middle class in order to maintain fake standard of living and the upper class for the sake of enjoyment in life and for getting rid of frustration in their social domestic life. It is true that women in Pakistan have never been disassociated with the struggle for democracy. However, the women gained more maturity in its understanding of national issues because of this interaction and participation in the movement for democracy, where people, not only take pride in strictly adhering to the Islamic values but are ready to make sacrifices for the glory and sanctity of Islam.

Pakistan is an Islamic state. It does not impose any restrictions that may hamper the social growth and development of women. A woman is equally important member of society. The woman plays a vital role in building the society on healthier and stronger foundations.

The women in Pakistan have been constantly complaining of having being isolated from the mainstream of society. Women feel disillusioned on being maltreated by the male-dominated set up. They strongly claim that if they are given a chance, they can contribute more positively towards the development of all social aspects. Pakistani women are at the crossroads and need a serious attention on the cause of exploitation of women rights. The present democracy and the representation of women in assemblies does not represent common Pakistani women, they are part and parcel of the rich and feudal families.

Almost 90 percent of the households in Pakistan have a male member as the head, while most household with women heads belong to the lower strata of society. Even though it is illegal for girls below 16 years of age to be married (As per the Child Marriages Restraint Act), there are frequent instances of child marriages, especially in the rural areas. The tribal clans of Punjab practice a child marriage ritual called ‘Vani,’ where young girls are married forcibly in order to settle feuds between warring clans. Interestingly, if the girl’s clan agrees to pay up money or ‘Deet’, Vani is avoided.

Almost 99 percent of the victims of honour killings in Pakistan are women. The punishments given to those who kill women under the pretext of honour killings are often punished leniently and sometimes go unpunished. Honour killing is a term described for killing of a person who is suspected of having an illegitimate relationship (or ‘karo kari’ in Balochistan and Sindh). Typically, honour killings have been reported against those women who have married against their family’s wishes, or want a divorce, or have been criminally molested.

The government has been trying to raise the status of women in Pakistan, but it is an uphill task and requires a paradigm shift in the way society (man-made rules) perceives women. Still considered as inferior or subordinate to the male-dominated society, Pakistani women have to do much to find their status in society. However, to give back honour and dignity to women, I want to give some suggestions to women.

Education and technical knowledge to be provided to every capable woman in separate and safe environment.

After enhancement of knowledge and skill, provide safe and separate environment to women to work and join national production force.

A guarantee for job opportunity should be provided to every woman, who wants to work in safe environment.

When 52 percent women power will join the production and services sector, national gross production/services will increase and so the increase in revenue.

Working women will earn for the family and bring happiness to the family and so the self-satisfaction, dignity and respect within the family will increase.

A separate working environment reduces the objection from the male members of the family.

An educated mother can train new generation in a better way and be a supporting partner in family as and when needed.

Being earning member of the family, self confidence of women will enhance and so the intrinsic skill will further developed.

Medical facilities and insurance coverage should be provided to every working woman.

Equal participation in political wing for women in political parties.

Only the society base on tolerance, equality and justice can be the real guarantee for the prosperous and strong Pakistan.

Therefore, I want to invite women from all walks of life to come forward and take the reign in their hands for the change in socio-political system and work for better life with dignity, respect and equal opportunities.
Source: The Post
Date:10/9/2008