New Age Islam
Wed Jun 12 2024, 07:37 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Dec 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Pakistani Women Live In a Culture That Defines Them by the Male Figures in Their Lives


By Paiman Malik

December 05, 2018

In our society, a woman is covertly the prime mover; her role as a mother, who shapes the institution of family by making key decisions in raising children, endeavouring to make them good citizens. However, in order to create a successful society, a woman’s role in the background is not enough. In order to properly establish the foundation of a prosperous and unified society, women should be given rights equivalent to that of their male counterparts.

Keeping in view the significant role that females play in the positive growth our society, one cannot deny the harsh reality that according to the Human Rights Commission Pakistan in 2017, more than 5,660 crimes were committed and reported against women all over Pakistan during the initial 10 months of the year. But that still does not show the complete picture as the reported cases against women in 2017 were viewed as the tip of the iceberg.

The injustice that the women face has been extremely damaging to our society. The fact that any voice, on the world stage, has not spoken regarding the hostility towards women has worsened the situation. My proposition for better protection for women in our society is not based on a western model. The best place to start implementation of this idea is education and employment, as it would increase social mobility and have an effect on other aspects.

The societies where women participate socially and politically, equal to men are the ones that are the most prosperous. Lack of education, growing insecurity, inescapable poverty, political vulnerability, hereditary factors and an absence of economic opportunity all represent a critical risk to the psychological health of women in Pakistan.

Educating young Pakistani girls is, despite all the anecdotal evidence of the benefits, is considered a bad investment since she has a culturally prescribed destiny of marriage and motherhood, despite the fact that educated Mothers are the basis of a progression society. The underutilisation of women in our society has a deeper impact on our society than simply the economy.

Each year, Board results all over Pakistan show that girls were doing much better than boys. This shows that parents are not spending much amount of money on girls after 10th grade. This was obviously a waste of human potential and a deficit to our economy. Twelve million women voters were not yet registered in the run-up to the 2018 general elections, due to the absence of women’s computerised national identity cards (CNICs). Particularly in the rural area, where, to a great extent, cases stay unreported because of various reasons including conservatism, the absence of education, stigma, disgrace, and shame, and poverty.

Western countries associate Pakistani women with religious oppression and Islamic fundamentalists consider that the battle for women’s rights as a western conspiracy, but the reality was far more complicated. A specific ‘Patriarchal’ mindset was deeply instilled in Pakistani culture where poor and uneducated women struggles for essential rights, acceptance, recognition, and most importantly respect in a ‘man’s world’.

They live in a culture that defines them by the male figures in their lives, despite the fact that these women are the providers for their families. Recent events have highlighted that challenges to traditional thinking can lead to accusation of seeking to westernise and marginalise Islamic traditions.

The cure of this violence would need to radiate from the tradition of the citizenry because of its theological roots. The first steps must be the identity registration from birth to death, citizen compulsory identity cards and registration of household composition. Then we must provide facilities in every town and village for ‘free’ compulsory education for both genders and a framework to achieve equal opportunities with equal pays in the workplace, and a system of citizen reporting ‘whistle-blowing’ on those not adhering to these requirements.

For women, it’s very important, regardless of their marital status — single, divorced, widowed or married — to take a much more active role in their financial lives. By taking a more active role, women would gain more clarity, confidence and control of their lives. A noteworthy challenge is that women perceive themselves not to have the right skills, knowledge or social status that’s expected to bring the change in situations.

Changing this requires a new clear and wider lens on how they see the role of women and how women should see themselves. As stated by Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Asma Jehangir, “Crime takes place in every country. But it becomes abuse when the state is unwilling and unable to protect the life and honour of its citizens.”