Researchers have revealed that the gender gap in employment is continuously increasing. Women have constantly been denied education and employment opportunities, which puts them in a much more vulnerable position than men. The pandemic has further worsened conditions for females as many young girls have been forced to drop out of school at an early age. In addition, the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic has resulted in unemployment for many.
In Pakistan, women are now facing two major obstacles. The first is the ever-increasing rate of illiteracy among women, which instantly reduces their future prospects and opportunities. The second is the fact that women are not allowed to work in various professions due to family or other restrictions. The reality is that women have limited career options to choose from. As a result, there is an excess supply of female workers in those careers, which consequently reduces their wages. Furthermore, limitations to work in different professions curb their creativity and dampen their ability to pursue their passions. This has resulted in an increase in the rate of female unemployment. If some are lucky, they end up working happily in stereotypical professions. Others have no choice but to give up their meaningless job and resort to household work.
The situation has left many Pakistani women in a quandary because several obstacles prevent them from pursuing their own dreams. It is important that the government acknowledges this issue and works towards creating an egalitarian society, where everyone is treated equally regardless of their gender, cast or creed.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2021.