Sorry to annoy you but it’s my right

Pakistan is not a safe or conducive place for women and that is a fact that can neither be denied nor ignored.

Zainab Imam June 23, 2011
After a recent poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation stated that Pakistan is the world’s third most dangerous country for women, many men moaned. What else do you women want, they say, looking at their women colleagues who earn as much as them and get the same perks and privileges.

Here is what we want: a realistic view of the acute problem of discrimination against women in our society.

Even if we do not talk about sexual and domestic violence that Pakistani women are routinely subjected to, there is still a long way to go to address the chauvinistic attitudes that remain entrenched. Phrases, such as “lady doctor” or “lady health worker” are used on a regular basis, as though being female makes her less professional than a male doctor or health worker. Even today, when someone advertises to hire an office secretary, their gender – female – is a criterion. Some jobs are considered more “suitable” for women, for instance, teaching where they can be close to their kids or return home before their husbands/fathers, as opposed to more “hardcore” professions such as law or accountancy. Anything to do with clothes or physical appearance – such as fashion designing or hair styling – is considered appropriate.

But what is alarming is that these are the attitudes affecting those who are able to go out and make a choice, albeit out of options enforced upon them by someone else. They cannot even begin to indicate the sort of problems and pressures that a large majority of Pakistani women must face every day – from being socially-ostracised for giving birth to a female child to being branded of loose character for taking up a job to help provide for her family.

Pakistan is not a safe or conducive place for women and no matter how annoying the constant “nagging” gets that is a fact that can neither be denied nor ignored. Just because a handful of women are able to choose what they study, where they work and who they marry does not mean our society has become friendlier to women. There is a long walk to freedom and only “nagging” will get us there.
Zainab Imam A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Sameer Usmani | 12 years ago | Reply I don't know, at least as I have witnessed, women are the most sacred creatures for us in this world. Mother: having Eden under her feet, everyone holds everyone's mother in his/her highest regards. Sister: is the most precious thing ever found by father ! we can't even look hardly at her ! whatever the case, the sisters get more stuff and 'ayyashi' Wife: every man is trying to please his wife all the time Daughter: people pray for angels to fill up their home ! What else, women discrimination prevails among the less-fortunate and un-educated class of our country for obvious reasons. Instead of wasting time and bragging about women rights in the educated class where women don't face such issues, we should work hard to address the grievances of the less fortunate people.
Ali | 12 years ago | Reply cant disagree with what you said but so many times when i hear women right activists speak they make it sound like men are living in a heaven inside pakistan. believe me it is also tough for men in this country. the other thing that bothers me is why its always about women rights why cant we all struggle for our human rights and not divide people on the basis of their sex.
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