Not so happy women’s day

According to recent surveys of Pakistan, while female education is on the rise, the percentage of males educating themselves remains stagnant. Job opportunities for women have increased. But male unemployment remains unchanged, as does their mindset.

Despite the fact that women now felt empowered and were aware of their rights, their condition did not change. Mostly, still, a girl is forced to marry an unemployed suitor and become the breadwinner of the family.  Wife beating, acid attacks, number of children, demand for dowry and the attitude of men, remained constant. We witness the same in our country. Even though we see the emergence of a new Pakistani woman – aware of her rights and ready to fight her battles – but she is still a ‘damsel in distress’.

In a patriarchal society like ours, the need of the hour is to develop a plan to work on the mindset of the rural, or uneducated, male. Subjugation of women has been imbedded in their minds as part of the culture. This may not be true for most of the male urban dwellers but the perception at large remains the same.

Schools for girls, vocational centres and female empowerment campaigns may raise the threshold of awareness, even marginally increase women empowerment, but women will not gain the rights and respect they deserve in society until and unless the minds of young men of the under privileged class are not liberated through education and employment.

There are numerous components of gender inequality that cannot be solved merely by basic education or financial empowerment.  First, the need of the hour is to focus on deep-seated patriarchal cultural causes that take away from the woman the freedom to make informed choices.

1840 hours
Friday 8 March

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