Dedicated to Pyari Pakistanis: Happy Women’s Day, y’all!

That’s right! If you support gender equality and empowerment of both sides, you’re my friend forever. If possible, I’ll even make you cupcakes with vanilla and cinnamon flavored icing. Fifi Haroon and I believe in fighting against gender discrimination, abuse and stereotyping one teacup at a time.

Let’s get to business first.

Do Pakistani women receive equal access to education?

No. In fact according to SD Dimensions:

“In Pakistan, educational attainment shows poor results. Particularly the educational status of Pakistani women is among the lowest in the world. According to the 1981 census, the literacy rate for the population of 10 years and above is 26.2%. However, there are distinct gender and rural/urban differentials concealed in the literacy rate. Women have a literacy rate of 16%, as against 35% for men. Similarly, the literacy rate for the urban population only is 47.1%, whereas the literacy rate for the rural population is 17.3%. Moreover, this rural/urban differential is more pronounced in the case of women than men. The literacy rate for urban men (55.3%) is more than twice the rate for rural men (26.2%). However, the literacy rate for urban women (37.3%) is more than five times the rate for rural women (7.3%).”

Which is like so not cool, bro. You can help alleviate this terrible situation by teaching children around you. Weekly visits to government schools are not only fun but extremely generous on your part to help a poor child to learn to read or write. You can even bring educational reforms by simply securing the attention of the district officials to this plight. You can help fix this education emergency by even signing this petition here: http://educationemergency.com.pk/

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it? You can make Pakistan a happier, smarter place. Oh, look. Sana Saleem agrees too.


Has violence against Pakistani women decreased?

Unfortunately, no. Trafficking, sexual abuse, acid burning, rape and other forms of brutality against women continue to grow day by day. Furthermore orthodox customs such as karo kari and public stoning are practiced even today. Patriarchies grow stronger and more violent by the minute. It becomes redundant to share statistics about a truth so obvious. What we can do to stop this from happening is simple: Speak up. If you see a woman being harassed or abused, do something. Inform the police, try stopping the abuser, provide protection for the woman. By supporting these women, you are giving them the strength and protection they need to fight back misogynists.


Are Pakistani women provided equal opportunity for employment?

Uh uh. This report from SD Dimensions explains the state of labor opportunity in Pakistan quite well:

“In Pakistan’s economy women play an active role. But their contribution has been grossly underreported in various censuses and surveys. Consequently, official labour force statistics show a very minimal participation of women. For example, the 1991-92 Labour Force Survey revealed that only about 16% of women aged 10 years and over were in the labour force and in comparison, the men’s participation rate was 84%. On the contrary, the 1980 agricultural census showed that women’s participation rate in agriculture was 73% and that women accounted for 25% of all full-time and 75% of all part-time workers in agricultural households. Also, the 1990-1991 Pakistan Integrated Household Survey indicated that the female labour force participation rate was 45% in rural areas and 17% the urban areas. Thus it is clear that if women’s contribution to economic production is assessed accurately, a conservative estimate of women’s labour force participation would be between 30% and 40%.”

Which sucks, bro.

Has the image of Pakistani women changed in its conservative society?

Barely. Stereotyping has remained one of the most aggravating problems for women in Pakistan. Labels, titles and assumptions not only fry our brains but also leave us utterly disappointed. What can you, as a Pakistani, do to fix this? Quit sexism. It’s not funny. Sandwich jokes are so two minutes ago. From now on, if you hear someone crack a sexist joke, try this:

And then:
Happy?

Because sexist humor and stereotyping is disgusting and women are running low on patience and tolerance. So if you don’t want a passionate iron hammer you-know-where, I sincerely suggest you put a halt to that crass humor.

Besides Bina Shah and a million other Pakistani women are morphing into desi Kill Bills and they’re more than ready to slice your chauvinism into fine pieces.

The point? The point is that every one of you, no matter how flawed, no matter where you are coming from or heading to, no matter what you have or don’t, you all are strong, full of hope, resilience and beautiful Pakistani women.

Whether you’re from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or even from the Northern Areas.

Or Punjab.

Or Sindh.

Or Balochistan.


You all are amazing Pakistani women. You can change this place for the best. God damn it, I could hug all of you right now. Now go fight patriarchy, sexism, discrimination and ignorance!

Happy Women’s Day!

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52 thoughts on “Dedicated to Pyari Pakistanis: Happy Women’s Day, y’all!

      1. zatmaniaa

        hey, Mehreen i hope you can help me with my blogs since i am an amateur blogger. i commented on one of your blog and awaited for you response for days. i hope this will reach out to you. if time permits you do check my blog and come up with suggestion. I am waiting for your response. contact via email is more viable for me so my email is zahidmasood1@hotmail.com
        see you around!

      1. aneela z

        no no i was referring to the Tera Pakistan Mera Pakistan women four (and has Altaf Bhai asked where are my women).
        But altaf (not my) bhai has two wives? the amount of news I am missing out on toilet training the kid. I demand you include how hundreds of little Pakistani boys refuse to leave their pampers as part of a conspiracy to deprive moms of a working knowledge of the world outside.
        I demand including this !!

    1. Mysh

      for those aunties…. Smile brightly with two words(spoken every so softly).. “shove it”.

      I did that and more, babes.
      Allah ji Is Against it. what more could you ask for??

      Reply
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  3. Samar farooqui

    Loved it! By the end of it, even I wanted to hug all the women of Pakistan and encourage them to fight against any discrimination against them!

    Reply
  4. Rukhpar Mor

    Mehreen,

    This was really nice. I like how you not only stated the facts, but gave us some suggestions as to what we could do.
    You made me happy=)

    Reply
  5. Irshad-o-Arz


    اے ماں یہ عورتوں کی بستی میں کیوں چھوڑ گیئں مجھے – اگر مجھے بھی اپنے ساتھہ الله سبحانہ و تعالہ کے ہاں لے جاتیں تو آج یہ دن دیکھنا نصیب نہ ہوتا

    Reply
  6. Saleeha

    You’re so cool
    Like a jewel.
    I like to rhyme,
    It doesn’t always work out. :(

    But seriously, you’re super mega foxy awesome cool, and loved this post, women empowerment FTW.

    Reply
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  8. zatmaniaa

    i could not help laughing. nice post. let me know if you want to tickle your funny bone, then my blog is worth visiting. my friends say so. studentdreams.wordpress.com

    Reply
  9. Mysh

    Hey jaaneman.. (i neva call anybdy by this – but u de-saaaarve it!)

    I see you’ve done ur eyebrows and gelled ur curls now. *whistles* :o

    Or was it woman-on-a-mission beauty oozing out for this post especially? :D

    *Huggs* to you n all Pakistani women making a difference in their own way, however small & cute.

    Im soo sharing this!

    Happy Women’s Era..

    Reply
  10. Taimur

    sucked.

    heh, couldn’t resist, too much positive comments. blame the troll in me :P it’s a great article. Like the rebuttal sexism joke :D

    Reply
  11. Thinking

    hmmm….a very good post…

    Its strange that no body in our newspapers on the Woman Day has written something like this post…all of them were praising that finally woman has found her value in Pakistan…lol….
    Well….its true…we are dam good liers….hmmm….

    Nice blog…will come back to read again.

    Reply
  12. Sammiosa

    Friggin Fabulous!! … I’m a little behind on my blog-reading … but better late huh ?! I will now fb link this post and wish everyone a Happy Women’s Day + a month (& a day) !! :)

    Reply
  13. izuber

    A good attempt to come up with some serious issues, BUT, who is going to resolve? as a man I have never experienced this level either at my parent’s home or at mine or even my following generation, based on which if this is the prevailing condition of our society & domestic environment Allah he khair aur karam farmaye, otherwise this comes out as a comical attempt on staggered scenarios. My mother taught me from the gitgo to respect every girl, lady, woman in the society like your mother & sister, never directed the B word at any in my lifetime, I am ashamed even to read/view it as a comical presentation.

    Reply
    1. izuber

      First time ever & in the last 28 years my younger son wrote me an e-mail acknowledging the fact that we have never ever commemorated or celebrated even informally what is known as Father’s Day while I have always complained that to some level the kids have honored Mother’s Day, mind you these children were born & brought up in the West & have hardly experienced prevaling culture in Pakistan.
      It is not their fault to celebrate or not but it is the environment, the schools are normally in session when mother’s day comes and closed when its time for father’s day, during school the kids are encouraged to make some piece of art to honor the mothers & they usually come up with something to greet, a note, art work or even a piece of clay pottery.
      Gifts have no significance it is the spirit that goes behind it, and the timing.
      My son at 28 years of age and being married wrote that although we never celebrated Father’s day I wanted to address you and tell you that after having inventoried myself with the help of my wife, my skills eloquence and much more that I find in my personality are your constant contribution over the years in molding my personality.
      It raises my head with some pride in accordance that I have my cake and can eat it too.
      Alhamdulillah, the kids never having celebrated these days formally have always honored both parents as well as their wives; said that when I look back I can’t thank my mother enough for instilling in me the values with which I fully regard every girl, lady & woman that I come across and hopefully conveyed the same values to my following generation. Value your values and convey those along, and remember to regard and respect all the women that cross paths with you in any role, not to mention that one shoulld disregard men, they should be regarded equally as well.
      Belated best wishes on a happy fathers day. ………..:)

      Reply

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