Pakistan is one of the most populated countries in the world and women constitute almost half of the population. Yet women’s rights and freedoms are scarce in the country. Therefore, it is not surprising that Pakistan has been ranked among the worst countries in the world for women.
Women are faced with unequal opportunities. They are subjected to gender-based violence, do not have freedom of choice, and lack political representation. A large proportion of out-of-school children include girls because educating women is not considered important. Girls are often married off at a young age and are faced with marital responsibilities that they have little knowledge of. This often results in the poor upbringing of children, which in turn leads to generational illiteracy and poverty. If women are given equal rights and opportunities as their male counterparts, they will not only educate themselves and work, but will also contribute to the country’s overall economic growth and development. Instead of improving, things have further worsened for Pakistani women in recent years. The surge in violence and other sexual crimes have further curtailed their rights. Within the span of a year, we have witnessed horrific crimes against women that include honour killings, sexual assault, acid attacks, etc.
It is impossible to expect any progress or change until women are safe and free. Therefore, I urge the government to consider the gravity of the situation and implement reforms and policies for women accordingly.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2021.