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.
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.
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:
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.
Happy Women’s Day!