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Obstacles to women’s empowerment in Pakistan

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Women’s empowerment can be defined as their right to influence social change, promotion of self-worth, and ability to determine their own choices. Feminism has emerged as a major global movement since the 19th century. The waves of the feminist movement have touched almost every state of the world. Similarly, women’s empowerment day is also getting momentum. The agenda of women’s empowerment day is to make the world understand that cooperated participation and partnership of both sexes can lead to a good productive life.
According to World Bank 2020 Report, approximately 48.54% of Pakistan’s population is comprised women. This is a big number which cannot be ignored, covering half of the country’s population. In Asian societies, the entire burden is on a man’s shoulder. Women have very little access and exposure to society. Let us observe how women face hurdles en route to empowerment in Pakistan. UDHR Article 26 says everyone has a right to education. According to the universal declaration of human rights, education shall be free.
Education is the strongest tool for empowering women. Women receive less formal education in most parts of the world. Similar criteria are found in Pakistan. Pakistan has a 46% female literacy rate which is very low. The key reasons are explained by Human Rights Watch which are as follows: social norms, lack of investment, high cost of education, poor quality of education, no enforcement of compulsory education, and corruption. To build a sustainable nation, woman is the one who nurtures her kids. A nation requires confident, skilful, and educated women to make prospering society. So, the education of women is of crucial importance.
Women’s employment acts as a strong pillar for women’s empowerment. Women in the job sector provide strength to institutions and shape the process of empowerment through their collective efforts. According to the World Bank Report of 2020, Pakistan’s workforce is consisting of only 20.53% of women. One of the main reasons for low participation from women is workplace harassment. According to a study, 70% of Pakistani working women face harassment. The question is that how will the remaining 80% of women get the motivation to go to work after watching these 70% getting harassed. Act no IV of 2010 was made to protect women from workplace harassment. There is a lot to do about the execution of this act.
Violence is one of the greatest hurdles a woman faces in her way towards empowerment. According to World Health Organization, about 30% of women face sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. Honor killing, rape, acid attacks, forced and child marriages, workplace harassment is serious problem that grabs a lack of government response in Pakistan. Due to such violent acts, women in Pakistan fear to outgrow from their shells. They spend their whole life in threats and simply waste it. In such a toxic society women’s empowerment is very difficult.
The patriarchal and misogynic mindset of Pakistani society can never let a woman grow and bloom. Man in Pakistani society think of women as a challenge and cannot see any of them being successful more than themselves. Awareness about the importance of women’s empowerment can only be done through education. The role of women in a peaceful society should be taught. That is how the upcoming generation will learn and mindsets will upgrade positively.
A critical change and advancement in policies are needed to fulfill and strengthen women’s rights. Change should be made possible through the law and regulation. Women should also provide an equal part in the decision-making process. All kinds of gender gaps should be removed. More opportunities for women on the government level must be provided. Such policies and programs should be brought into focus which improves women’s access to secure livelihood and economic resources. Pakistan has already many laws for women but when it comes to implementation, there is a total failure.
We can conclude on a point that sustainable development can be achieved by the effective role of women and their empowerment. As we know that women constitute half of the world’s population. Responsibilities should be shared from nurturing kids to household maintenance. One should realize that women are equally responsible for nation-building and prosperity. We should learn from the western world that how fruitful is empowering the women. If we cannot adopt the western strategies fully, we can tailor than according to our society.