Saturday, November 7, 2009
Rights of Women in a Pakistani society
Before discussing whether women have rights in Pakistani society or not, first understand Pakistani society.
Pakistan is an Islamic state, where people, not only take pride in strictly adhering to the Islamic values but are ready to sacrifice their loved belongings for the glory and sanctity of Islam. Islam has accorded a highly venerated social position to women. Islam acknowledges the rights and privileges of the women in society. Likewise, Islam does not impose any restrictions that may hamper the social growth and development of the woman. A woman is equally important member of society. The woman plays a vital role in building the society on healthier and stronger foundations.
The women in Pakistan have been constantly complaining of having being isolated from the mainstream of society. Women feel disillusioned on being maltreated by the male-oriented set up in Pakistan. They strongly claim that if they are given a chance, they can contribute more positively towards the development of all social aspects.
However the Pakistani society usually adopts a hostile attitude towards the women. Their development in society is hindered due to many factors. Particularly the rural woman has to sustain, sometimes, unbearable dominance by the other sections of society.
Numerically the women in Pakistan are almost equal to men. They are equal in potential as the men. The Pakistani women live in the most diversified location of the tribal, feudal or urban environments. She can be a highly qualified and self-confident professional or a diffident peasant toiling along with her men-folk.
Women in Pakistan observe 'Pardha' while coming out of domestic environs or mixing up with other sections of society. 'Pardha,' or veil, is meant to segregate the women-folk from the male section of the society. The women are not prohibited from working but at the same time are supposed to observe strictly the rules of morality.
Due to pardha system, most of women (particularly of low education) have to take up work at home. They involve themselves in knitting, dressmaking, embroidery, etc.
In the areas like NWFP and Balochistan, life is governed and regulated by strict beliefs and behavioral patterns. A woman has no say in any aspect of her life, including her marriage. In the populated provinces of Sindh and Punjab, a woman may keep her connections with her family after marriage. She expect support from her brothers and father in case of separation and divorce from her husband. In Punjab and Sindh, women are seen working in the fields with their men-folk collecting fuels and in some cases working on the construction sites shifting material from one place to another.
Most of women in rural areas have to bear double burden of domestic and outside work. They are the first to rise and last to bed. They lit the fire to prepare breakfast, wash the utensils and cleans the house before setting out on their outside work. When every member has ridden the bed after completing day's work, they are engaged in working.
Although the conditions of women in urban areas are better than those of the rural women. Yet the old traditions and religious restraints have hindered the independent and free movement of the women.
Pakistan is the first country in the Muslim world that has elected a woman as its prime minister twice.
- Maham Masood