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Empowering the Unempowered

By: Mehak Anwar

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Women are not a creature treated as a second class citizen; yet she is a creator of mankind herself.

In this modern period, Globalization has made strenuous practices into facile ones. We have discovered the mystery of almost every conundrum coming our way. Digitalization amplified the freedom of speech for the young generation.

The social networking sites like Twitter/Facebook are the platforms where people can share their thoughts regarding menacing affairs and challenges to the modern world.

Albeit living in third world countries, there is still more to be uprooted. While looking at archaic times, history has been remained biased against women.

Women had no independence and power over issues regarding their well-being and they were excluded from any active role in the society, political affairs even from the right to vote.

In such anarchical times, Islam on principle brought the idea of equal status and respect for women in the barren desert of Arabia. Islam provides status to women and she has independent personality, which cannot be subjugated.

The Holy Quran has disclosed the origin of humankind and has addressed men and women as complementary components of specie who together are capable of maintaining the survival of human race.

Unfortunately, women are still being treated as a second class citizen in different cultures. They are from a young age conditioned to surrender either to the will of their kinsmen or their husbands.

May it be kind of education they attain, personal decisions they make or other basic facilities. Suffice it to believe that women have been oppressed from ages, having no equal opportunities as compared to men.

The brawl is fathomless yet still at its apex. The low status of women in Pakistan is indubitable.

As the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020; released last year in December. it may recalled that Pakistan is placed at 157, among the worst places for women in the world.

The shame of it is depended by the fact that Bangladesh is high above at 50, even higher than U.S (53). According to the studies it is estimated that around 70-90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered physical, psychological, sexual and emotional abuse.

A woman is raped every 2 hours in Pakistan. There are at least 11 rape cases reported in Pakistan every day with over 22,000 rape cases reported to police across the country in the last six years, according to official statistics.

However, only 77 accused have been convicted which comprise 0.3% of the total figure.

According to official data, 18,609 rape cases were registered in Punjab during the last six years, 1,873 in Sindh, 1,183 in KP, 129 in Balochistan, 210 in Islamabad. While cases concerning the kidnapping of women and honor killings were 12,600.

Low female literacy rate is one of the main causes of women’s all round deprivation and violence as experienced by them. It also causes low participation in the political, economic and social activities.

They cannot achieve their rights and compete for available opportunities for them. This situation has led to the social and economic dependence of women which in turns ensures male domination in Pakistan. After the triumph of numerous feminist movements in western countries, Pakistani feminist movements are actively engaged in their agendas.

To observe international Women’s Day, feminists organize The Aurat March rallies in various cities of Pakistan every year on March 08. However, a question that often pops up in my mind is that, would it be enough to bring change in our society? I am of the view that, No, A big NO.

The arising adversities in the path of Women empowerment is not the patriarchal system in our society but sometimes also the women herself. Regrettably, at the individual level, women themselves are also not aware of their basic and fundamental rights.

Why would a highly educated woman who is self-reliant and cognizant about her primary and legal rights need Aurat March to demand her rights? Instead this should be for ones who are the real victims of gender inequality. Now that is one of the most rigorous chellange to be annihilated from our society.

An uneducated woman of rural area cannot demand for her rights by joining rallies or raising voice on social media. All of those practices completely depend on the different ethnic groups, surroundings and financial status of a woman.

Women living in remote areas, face up to different problems, having different priorities and experiences as compared to the women well raised in urban areas.

The initiative step that should be taken is to provide awareness to those who are actually victim of deprivation.

Thousands of women become the victim of domestic violence just because they are not capable for take a stand, without realizing the ample awaiting opportunities outside four walls.

The notion of self-exploration and appreciating one’s own self is the rudimentary step towards empowerment. Women are strong even when she is unaware of her strengths, what if when she finally gets to know her worth.

Islam considers both men and women equally human and grants them equal human rights.

There is no religious restriction on women attaining education or working outside their home.

It makes no sense demanding for the rights which are already given to women by Almighty Allah.

Then to whom those rights are being asked? Why women has to struggle for her basic rights. Empowerment for women begins at the household, with equality, autonomy and respect.

Achieving equality between men and women in the family is the foundation on which empowerment in other areas is based.

This can be possible by developing power inside those who are deprived. In addition, 57% of the women in Pakistan are unaware of their rights which results into their subjugation to men.

They cannot raise their voice against violence by men, i.e. fathers, brothers and after marriage, husbands and their male relatives, who are in control of their physical being. The day women knew that what is good and what is bad for her is the day they would be acquittal from oppression.

The only thing that women of Pakistan lack is Self-love and knowing what they deserve. Constructing boundaries of standards by exploring their soul would raise their status.

That is the only remediable pill for the development of women empowerment from whatsoever ethnic group they belong. That is the day they will rule the world.

Empowering the empowered ones would be of no use, but to empower uneducated and deprived of self-assurance would definitely bring change in the society which is unprecedented.

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