Feminism is a radical notion that women are human; that women deserve economic, political and social rights equal to those of men. Its more than just a movement, it’s about women right.
Women make up to 52% of Pakistan population. But women live their life as second citizen in this society. Women fight for their daily needs including health and education.
Women struggled to be treated fairly and equally by Pakistan Justice System. Women fight the ideology that they are and will always remain second class citizens in this country.
Feminism is not about worshipping western values. It is no against Islam. It does not want to become superior to man it wants equal rights for women. It is stated in Quran.
Their lord responded to the “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to another.”
“Feminism is a belief that women have the right to equal education. The believe that women and men have biological differences but they still deserve equality that’s feminism.”
“Feminism is a light in the darkness of patriarchy”
Shaista Gohrar(Women’s Right Activist)
Feminism and Masculinity:
In Pakistan Men are not ready to accept that the women make success more than men. In Pakistan there is logic of Misogyny. So, misogyny that we generally understand as man hatred of women is not about individual man or their feeling about women. So, if you have a kind father, a liberal husband, it does not mean that misogyny is not present in our society. Indeed, misogyny is about the behavior design to keep women under control to keep them in their place. In Pakistan if women make progress in any field. The men considered it as against their misogyny. They considered it as their insult. They want that to stick women to its place. In Pakistan, men have control on women movement. They have financial control over money. They have control over the termination of women education. And they have control over women marriages. Who’s she is going to marry and when she going to marry. Feminism helps us to reclaim those rights and stop the violence.
Feminism and Pakistani Culture:
In Pakistan, traditional mindset prevails which prohibits women from taking part in economic activities. Pakistani women are perceived as housewives who just lake care of their husbands and spend time upbringing their children. The household obligation of housewives makes it impossible for them to work extended periods of time outside the home.
The old mind setup of people is a major problem that stops women success. If a girl wants to complete her education, that girl a not allowed to do that.
In Balochistan culture, the female young students are being forced to make it choice between education or dignity. These students were filmed through secrets cameras and then blackmailed administration.
“There have been times I have been scared, there have been times that I have cried, but does that mean you give up in the face of brute force? No, never!
Feminism raised voice against this culture violence. For example, women are allowed to be gang raped by Jirgas. Women sacrificed in return for the crimes their male relative commits.
A very terrible culture in Pakistan is Vinnie in which father offer his daughter in marriage to protect his son.
FEMINISM AND PAKISTANI MEDIA:
During past several years, the media has emerged as an extensive industry with a variety of channels or as a number of news publication houses and radio broadcasting channels. However, despite of so much progression in the field of media lesser women are employed in media houses as compared to men (Misra & Clarke, 2012).
Chambers (2009) says that gender discrimination in one of those environmental factors which affects women employment in media. In Pakistan It is observed that men usually dominate top level ranking media organization i.e.
“That’s women are more subjected to discrimination at work as compared to men.”
Patriarchy is a dominating system in Pakistan. Due to this system, greater discrimination has been observed between men and women in the arenas of employment.
Owing to this patriarchal system and male dominate composition of occupation; women have always been placed in inferior roles and Jobs.
A combination of Islam and feminism has been advocated as “a feminist discourse and practice articulated within an Islamic paradigm.”
Islam is the most feminist religion Islamic feminists ground their arguments in Islam and its teachings, seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public affairs, and can include non-Muslims in the discourse and debate.
Islamic feminism is defined by Islamic scholars as being more radical than secular feminism and as being anchored within the discourse of Islam with Quran as its central text.
During recent times, the concept of Islamic feminism has grown further with Islamic groups looking to garner support from many aspects of society. In addition, educated Muslim women are striving to articulate their role in society.
Islam gave women an honor, respect, existence and equal rights. Holy Prophet (P. B.U.H) told the Arab society that the Allah gave women these basic rights and honor.
William Montgomery Walt states that the Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure that who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things considerably.
Islam significantly bettered the status of women. The concept of homosexuality was removed. In short, Islam gave comprehensive, information about feminism.
Islamic Feminism and Pakistan Democracy:
As Pakistan is a Muslim country and based on Islam, so its democracy is also based on Islamic rules and regulations. Feminism is given a primary and importance. Women are considered equal to men they are eligible to perform in all fields including politics, business, social, economic religion at national and international level.
Feminism in Pakistan is a set of movements aimed at defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic and social rights and equal opportunities for women in Pakistan.
The Constitution of Pakistan of 1956 reserved 10 seats for women in the unicameral Parliament with five seats each for East and West Pakistan.
The Constitution of Pakistan of 1962 reserved six seats for women in the National Assembly with three seats each from East and West Pakistan.
Many other laws were also made to protect women’s honor and to give them an equal status to man.
At present, in spite of all these laws, in many parts of country the women’s condition is terrible. We take the example of property’s heir for women According to Sharia, and Pakistani law, the legal heirs that are blood relations have a right to inherit from the property of ancestor. Surah An-Nisa narrates the appropriate method that must be followed to determine the share in inheritance. They should be given one-third part of property’s share.
According to a survey conducted in January 2017 released during a press released by non-governmental organization, AGHS legal and cell, revealed that 80 percent women reported not getting their legal Share in heritance. The women condition in different parts of country is also terrible.
Feminism helps women to reclaim those rights that are also provided by Islam and Pakistan democracy but stolen away from women by men. So, that’s why we need feminism in Pakistan.
This country needs feminism:
Quaid-e-Azam said in a speech in 1944;
“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners.”
Feminism demands three things:
Feminism demands three things: equality, equity, and the elimination of patriarchy.
The latter unites the various strands of feminist thought. It is their common enemy. It is easy to see why: patriarchy is a mechanism through which control is exercised over women. It is that control, in both the public and the private spheres, that prevents equality and equity for women to ever materialize. The great feminist scholar, Catherine MacKinnon, believed that without examining how power is distributed between the two sexes, we could not understand how to achieve equality. Men have been in control for so long, she said, that the legal discourse completely ignores the reality of women’s lives. She was right. In our country, the lascivious stare of men in public places towards women is seen as normal. It shouldn’t be normal anywhere.
To dispel myths and stereotypes regarding women crafted over centuries requires a powerful social movement. In a country like ours where women are covertly filmed in universities and blackmailed, that movement is needed more than ever. That movement is feminism, and this country needs it.
We need it because in the University of Balochistan, young female students are being forced to make a choice: education or dignity? These students were filmed through secret cameras installed in bathrooms and blackmailed by members of the university administration. The revelation of this practice may be new to our eyes, but according to the students, it has been going on for a number of years. Their cries of protest were given little weight by the university administration. It wasn’t until the Balochistan High Court became involved that the issue became part of the mainstream media. In a province where the female literacy rate is already abysmal, such practices further destroy the chances of women gaining higher education. All because of some men in power.
Cases like this show the need for feminism. Recently, however, the unfortunate and tragic suicide of a lecturer in Lahore because of false accusations of sexual harassment has become the latest indictment against the movement. But that tragic incident is not an indictment against feminism. It is an indictment against the lack of effective measures existing in our society to adequately deal with claims of sexual harassment. It is an indictment against our justice system. Had we thought about creating structural mechanisms to deal with cases of sexual harassment in the past, we might today have had functioning forums that could easily sift through false accusations and give quick and efficient rulings on cases.
But we don’t, because we silenced the voices of women for too long. So, issues that disproportionately affected women — like sexual harassment — were never taken seriously enough to force those in power to make adequate forums for their redressal. We are all, men and women, suffering because of that today. The fact that a sexual harassment at the workplace law was enacted in 2010 is proof of how long this issue has been ignored.
Sexual harassment is not the only problem that disproportionately affects women that we have long ignored. Forced conversions in Sindh impact women, but the PPP has routinely blocked legislation on the subject, and a zealot class, made up predominantly of men, has succeeded in convincing them to do so. Child abuse in places like Kasur disproportionately affects young girls, which has also shown how our inept justice system fails to solve problems that heavily produce burdens for women. Our solutions so far have been to tell women to cover themselves up some more.
We need feminism because it is a social movement that allows us to see the disparity of power that prevents these issues — sexual harassment, child abuse, forced conversions — from being remedied. Those who use the term “feminist” in Pakistan as an insult are simply on the wrong side of history. Because feminism will soon become the way of the world. It will be seen as something that is simply right by future generations, much like concepts such as civil rights and the rule of law. Those fighting for the feminist cause should take solace in the fact that such opponents have always existed — and have always failed. In 1893, for example, the Australian Parliament sought to introduce a bill that would extend the franchise to women. In a newspaper column in The Country one person said, “The suggestion that women are equal to men is absurd.” Today, we look back at such words and wonder what these people were thinking.
This country needs feminism. The malady of patriarchy has only one cure after all.
Why Feminism Taboo in Pakistan?
If we think education is not necessary for women and should not be allowed to work or earn money then why we still find a lady doctor in hospitals for our females or a female teacher for our children? Some extremist spreading Bad feminism or Hyper Feminism because of that, people should not make feminism or women rights taboo in Pakistan. We should understand the importance of women’s rights and state should play the role to impose law to control all those oppressions which are already mentioned above. Yes, I am concerned about women’s rights not only in my country even all over the world. It is our duty to raise voice for uneducated and poor females who could not stand up for their selves and against injustice because of fear, lack of awareness or some pressure.
Feminism is not about worshipping western values. Feminism is not against Islam and it does not want women to be superior. Basically Feminism is believe that women have the right to equal education, believe that women and men may have biological differences but they still deserve equality, that’s the feminism.
The concept of feminism helps us to understand all these rules and basic rights given by God, Sheria and Patistani law, which is the basic need of every woman. So in this way, we and also Pakistan need feminism.
Prepared by: Ishrat Malik & Friends (University of Education Lahore)