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Rights Of Women In Pakistan Essay


There has been a tremendous change in the situation of women's rights. The whole approach has changed from protection to rights. Earlier, it was that women needed protection. Even the Women's Commission report talked in terms of a division of labour between men and women. The woman was, naturally, given a secondary place in return for a monetary stipend to be protected. There was a different mindset altogether. In the 1980s, a more rights-based approach was taken to the status of women, but it has not gone deep enough. When we talk about how the situation has changed-it has changed in terms of women being more aware of their rights; women taking more opportunities where they have presented themselves; and women asserting themselves in different fields, such as in politics and economics. But as far as the basic unit of the family is concerned, which is where discrimination begins and bogs the woman down her whole life, very little has changed, even on paper.There have been minor breakthroughs though. And these have been primarily because more women are entering the legal profession, and, more importantly, more women have been willing and able to take the risk of litigation. A woman lawyer can interpret laws from a gender perspective, but you still need a real client who wants to go all out, take the legal risk, and not succumb to pressure and compromise along the way. Many of these breakthroughs have come through case law, where women clients have had to suffer. At times, not even supported by their own families, these women have had to go through prolonged periods of uncertainties, and they have been brandished as brash women who are bucking social norms. It has been a difficult process for these women, and they need to be celebrated.
One example of how these changes have taken place was a legal case very early on with regards to a woman who was contesting an election. However, it died down and the question did not reach the height of legal precedent. That is, until female students in medical colleges challenged the law. Other than being supported by their families, what made it easier for these students was that it was not during the military dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq. Had it been, the case would not have seen the kind of positive response it did from the court. So eventually we did get relief from the Supreme Court and it did uphold Article 25 of the Constitution- "There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone"--which was already on paper was then realised. Following this, there were similar cases challenging discrimination, for example the one that changed the common practise where women were forced to change their domicile according to the domicile of the man she married.

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"A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done."

Patriarchy In Pakistan Essay

Patriarchy in Pakistan

Pakistan belongs to a part of the world where a woman's status can be measured by indicators such as sex ratio, literacy levels, economic activity, labor-force participation, and women in government. The Constitution of Pakistan gives equal rights to both men and women. However in reality men have manipulated women to become more powerful than women. Men hold most top end positions in government while women rarely appear in positions of power. According to the "UN Statistics and Indicators on Women and Men" it can be seen the there is inequality amongst gender when it comes to participation in political decision-making and economic decision-making. It also portrays that in a Pakistani society, a woman's status is always lower than the male partner. She is deprived of a good education, food, health care and freedom of choice of partner, number of children and other essentials of life. These are some of the factors that play a role in the life expectancy, resulting in women living a shorter life than men.

In his book "What is this thing called Patriarchy" Johnson states that there are four characteristics of patriarchy that are rooted in the social structure of a society. The first characteristic is that there is a male dominated social system. This does not mean that all men are powerful or that all women are powerless but means in a position where someone has power it tends to be a male. The "UN Statistics and Indicators on Women and Men" show the statistics for the percentage of women legislators and women in parliament in Pakistan throughout the years, it can be seen that there hasn't been an increase at all. Instead women's share of legislators, senior officials and managers is a merely 3% and only 22% of parliamentary seats in single or lower chamber are occupied by women. The second characteristic of patriarchy is a society is organized around an obsession for control this is often is used to elevate men. In the same table the Percentage of women in adult labor force is 21%, which suggests men strive to have a greater part in the economy leading to males being contributors to the family, which puts them in control. The third characteristic is that patriarchies are male identified. Johnson mentions how the word mankind and the use of the word guys are used when referring to a group that includes women as well. This can be seen in Pakistan where societies prefer to have male children or a male first-born mostly for economic reasons. Men want their family to be identified by a male dominant member. A male child is preferred since they have greater earning potential and the ability to lead a strong patriarchal family. The table also shows how the legal minimum age for a woman to get married is 16. Arranged marriages being a norm in a...

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