Women in Pakistan struggling countinously!

Women in Pakistan

Women in Pakistan are suffering throughout the years. But now The new Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid recently disclosed that her ministry is planning to table a bill in the Punjab Assembly, which would ban “Gender disclosure” to parents during pregnancy.

The Minister’s policy suggestion has been welcomed by a wide range of development practitioners, medical professionals. public health officials and activists, who have long been concerned about “Sex-selective abortion” in Pakistan, due to the traditional preference for Male children.

The Minister said, “I am sorry that some people manage to know about the sex of the baby during the pregnancy and if it were not a boy then they prefer abortion over normal delivery.”

Sex-selective abortion, besides Female infanticide, is the major cause of Pakistan’s demographic Gender imbalance. where more Male children are born in comparison to Female, leading to an overall Gender imbalance in the Adult population. Currently, for every 100 women, there are 105 men in Pakistan.

The Abortion Worldwide 2017 Report, by the Guttmacher Institute, puts Pakistan at the top among developing countries with most abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-49 years. Women in Pakistan face huge mental torture and the majority of the time. They remain afraid if they would able to give birth to a boy or not.

Although this is only an estimation, and no governmental data exists after the Pakistan Demographic Survey 2007. Policy-makers remain concerned about the long-term socioeconomic consequences of a gender imbalance.

President Arif Alvi today tweeted from the official handle of the President of Pakistan. Urging both the Legislature and the Judiciary a step to empower women.

The President’s message comes in the aftermath of the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF). which ranked Pakistan 148th out of a total of 149 countries. Gender Equality in terms of Healthcare, Education, Economic Opportunities and other indicators.

Education is an area where women are consistently disadvantaged in Pakistan, which then impacts the rest of their lives.
With less job opportunities, low earnings and low levels of self-satisfaction. ion. According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2017-18, this can be seen by the drastically low levels of Female Literacy all over the country, where the female population is only half as much educated as the male. This also means that about Two-thirds of the Out of School Children in Pakistan are female.

Furthermore, even after attaining education, the few women who do achieve good employment remain disadvantaged. According to the Pakistan Labor Force Survey 2014-15, women are in a larger proportion than men in ‘Professional’ occupations, but they are less likely to advance to ‘Manager’ level positions. Among Pakistan’s top corporations, Women are nearly non-existent among the Boards of Directors.

One area that appeared to be the saving grace, and prevented Pakistan from getting the last spot, is the advancement of women in the Political arena, where they continue to outshine their male counterparts.

There is during pregnancy almost unified consensus that about the is far from what Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had intended it to be. One specific aspect in this regard was Jinnah’s extremely vocal support for Women Empowerment, especially in the recent realm of politics, of women and policy-making.

Today, Pakistan ranks 133rd in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index (GII), while women empowerment is labelled as a “Western agenda.” Similarly, Feminism, a movement which was male counterparts fight Western patriarchal traditions, is ironically also thought to be “pro-West” and against Islam.

It is equally ironic that in terms of Gender Equality other Muslim Majority countries are far ahead of Pakistan and many non-Muslim countries. Qatar ranks 44th, Saudi Arabia ranks 50th, Malaysia ranks 62nd and Turkey ranks 69th.

It is well-recorded in history that Jinnah’s closest adviser during the Pakistan Movement was Fatima Jinnah, who was also the political organizer for Muslim League’s women. However, events after Jinnah’s death, including censorship and propaganda, against Fatima Jinnah forced her out of political life.

Similarly, Some of the Women in Pakistan are Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, who was a life-long proponent of Women’s Empowerment, was kept out of Pakistan after Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s death by appointing her the Ambassador numerous countries abroad. She returned to Pakistan in 1967 to participate in the movement against Ayub Khan and was later elected to the National Assembly. Prime Minister further made her the Governor of Sindh. During Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship female she participated in the Women’s Movement.

Political propaganda and religion is repeatedly used against Women leaders in Pakistan, which eventually became a part of the national narrative.

Only in the last two decades, have governments realized that Pakistan cannot succeed in Economic or Human development if it does not empower women in all spheres of life. This is, however, a very tough task as narratives built through years of propaganda and misuse of religion will take many more years to reverse.