In a country like Pakistan, every day should be Women’s Day. Now, this doesn’t mean that men are not important or that this day tries to look down on men, NO! You don’t have to bring one gender down to lift the other one up.
Pakistan is ranked the fourth last country in the world for equal opportunities for women according to Women, Peace and Security Index. Which is exactly why there’s a dire need of celebrating Women’s Day to raise awareness. The aim of celebrating the day is to achieve full gender equality for women, which is not only a problem faced by women in Pakistan but by women all around the world. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men. According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum, it could still take another 100 years before the global equality gap between men and women disappears entirely.
In Pakistan, average years of schooling for women stands at only five years, while only 33 per cent of Pakistani women have been found to use mobile phones. Only 24 percent of Pakistani women are employed, while their share of seats in parliament stands at only 20 percent. (Dawn News, March, 2017.)
The report published by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in partnership with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo states that 73 percent of Pakistani men do not find it perfectly acceptable for women in their family to work outside their homes. About 27 percent of Pakistani women have faced violence from their intimate partners, while only 51 percent of women feel safe working alone at night in the city or the area that they live in.
The figures speak for themselves, there are women who are deprived of their basic rights, there are women who face harassment every single day, there are women who work as hard as men and still get under-paid, there are women who face domestic violence, there are women who are killed in the name of honour, there are women who need to be made aware of their rights. Let’s be civil and help each other grow, let’s put our gender biases aside and help everyone who’s weak. Who says you can only celebrate women by bringing men down?
Also, one thing to keep in mind is that just because something hasn’t happened to you or just because you haven’t witnessed it does NOT mean that it’s not happening. So, next time you hear anyone share their experience with you – LISTEN, do not invalidate their experience by telling them “oh, this never happened to me,” or “oh, you’re blowing it way too out of proportion.” Realise that everyone has different experiences, be glad it didn’t happen to you but also empathize with the people who have had such experiences. Try providing a safe space for everyone to speak up about their experiences, about things that bother them or make them uncomfortable and instead of judging them or asking them to stay quiet about it, encourage them to speak up, encourage them to take action against it. You’ll be surprised how many people go through the same experience and never speak up.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally!
Make everyday International Women’s Day.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding!