It’s 2024 and Saeed Anwar thinks women joining workforce is a ‘game plan’ to destroy society

Former sportsman says top international cricketers have sought his advice on social reform

Entertainment Desk May 14, 2024

Former Pakistani cricketer Saeed Anwar finds himself in the eye of a storm after making controversial remarks regarding women's empowerment and financial independence. The cricketer-turned-commentator sparked outrage on social media when a clip of him expressing his views on women joining the workforce surfaced online.

In a viral clip making rounds on the internet, Anwar laments the rise in divorce rates, attributing it to women gaining the freedom to work outside their homes and achieve financial autonomy. “I have travelled the world. I am just returning from Australia, Europe. Youngsters are suffering, families are in bad shape. Couples are fighting. The state of affairs is so bad that they have to make their women work for money,” the former cricketer stresses in the clip.

Anwar recounted encounters with individuals from various countries who allegedly bemoaned the societal breakdown caused by women entering the workforce. He said, “New Zealand’s captain [for the national men’s cricket team] Kane Williamson called me to ask, ‘How will our society get better?’... The Australian mayor said to me, ‘Our culture has been destroyed since our women entered the workforce.’”

Anwar's remarks have drawn sharp criticism for their patriarchal outlook. Many on social media condemned his views as archaic and harmful, pointing out the importance of women's financial independence and their right to work. The cricketer also claimed, “Since women have started working in Pakistan, divorce rates have climbed by thirty percent in the last three years.”

“[The wives say] ‘To hell with you, I can earn myself. I can run a household on my own.’ This is a whole game plan. You will not understand this game plan unless you find guidance,” Anwar emphasised the ‘risks’ of women embracing financial independence.

The former cricketer's comments not only sparked outrage but also reignited discussions about gender equality and the importance of challenging outdated societal norms. While such conservative takes from men in the limelight are commonplace, they also contribute to rising distortions of fact and statistics.

The rise in divorce rates has prompted concern from many factions in Pakistan’s society in recent years. With Anwar’s ‘thirty percent in three years’ claim being one of the many figures to float around, feminists across fields urge a nuanced interpretation of any such statistics. In 2024, the conversation around divorce remains inseparable from a growing awareness of healthy relationships and less conspicuous forms of domestic abuse.

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