ISLAMABAD: I do not believe in celebrating these internationally marked days but reading about Women’s Day this year made me feel happy and hopeful. I am glad such a day exists for the women of this world. They are always mentioned along with minorities groups such as transgender and children, although they make up half of the world’s population. How can we expect success while suppressing half of the world’s population? More specifically, women in Pakistan are almost 50%. If half of the country is marginalised, how can it survive? We have less than 20% of representation for women in parliament; and even though female workforce in civil services is now almost 40%, there are barely any women holding leadership positions. This means that half of Pakistan is treated as a minority group. Even though women are part of every professional work field now, the overall number of women employed is still very less. Most women receive the same quality of education as men, yet we do not see the same number working at the same positions as men, as there are not enough opportunities offered to women despite them being equally qualified and skilled as their male counterparts.
It is true that many a time, women themselves tend to reinforce the discriminatory notions against their own gender. This is mainly because they are either just complying to the largely accepted conceptions of gender bias, or not consciously aware of the inherent meaning of their actions. Similarly, men have also been conditioned to think women are inferior to them and this reflects in their treatment of women. It is about time we call off the rift between the two genders and move forward in an equal and befitting manner.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2019.