Stories about women

Isn’t it about time the Pakistani government considered giving qualified stay-at-home parents jobs?

I had taken a hiatus from work due to my household responsibilities, but now that my children had started school and all else was well, I decided that it was the perfect time to start working again. I had my first job interview in five years and as I sat there waiting for my turn, I couldn’t help but feel rather uneasy looking around at the other candidates. They seemed to be more qualified individuals with updated resumes and a fiercely competitive knack about them. Clouds of doubt began to mar my enthusiasm. Perhaps I should have improved my qualifications before restarting my ...

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Religion and feminism: Why women in India are fighting for a place in temples

It’s time we remove the decadent practices that discriminate against people belonging to marginalised sections of society, especially women, from entering religious places of worship. On January 26, while most Indians celebrated the participation of an all-women’s contingent during India’s Republic Day Parade, 400 strong women activists did what has never been done before: they forcefully tried to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra to break an age old custom that prevents women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The attempt was a symbolic act to assert women’s rights and fight patriarchy. Indian women have for long struggled to attain gender equality, and ...

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Dear Pakistani mom, why must I fear not getting a proposal?

Dear Pakistani mom, I am your beloved daughter, slightly spoiled but mostly a responsible, caring individual who would go to great lengths just to see a smile on your face. One who would run to the medicine store to grab some medicines should my ailing grandmother’s health so require. Please remember ‘you’ raised me so. You raised me to be a thoughtful, caring, independent and confident individual. You taught me not to follow the guidelines of learned female helplessness by waiting for the sympathy of my three brothers to get medicine in case I suffered a bout of respiratory infection. You raised me to believe women ...

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Is the Nazi scare tactic being used against refugees in Europe?

Warning: The images in the post may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 18 years.  Billing itself as a ‘brave young Polish weekly’, W Sieci wasn’t particularly brave in their choice of cover: a blonde woman wearing the European Union flag as a toga, being groped by meaty, hairy arms. W Sieci’s cover story was titled ‘Islam’s rape of Europe’. Photo: Twitter It wasn’t too youthful, either. The title references Roman myth — Jupiter’s rape of princess Europa. But the creepy image of swarthy hands defiling a fair white maiden is a 20th-century scare tactic. The United ...

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Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab

Through fear of the sword or through promise of eternal torment they spread their regressive ways. Over time we found another reason to abhor each other, to feel divided, to openly judge our own. The foreign culture we adopted didn’t play well with our own, for it insisted in its dark perfection while clashing with our own light. Whenever I travel from Pakistan I feel a melancholy that slowly hums in my heart overseas until it reaches full tempo when I return home. Other countries hold dear their customs and honour the old roots from which they rose with tolerance ...

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Medicating women’s feelings

Women are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others. These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of ...

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Sanitary napkins are not luxury items… period

Is everyone ready? Okay… all together now… let’s say the following words: Period… Menstruation… Tampons… Sanitary napkins… Sanitary towels… Menstrual pad… Maxi pad… Whew. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Every month, before reaching a certain age, a woman ovulates for a span of a day or so. Following this time, an unfertilised egg is let go in a menstrual period that lasts up to a week or more of bleeding. It can be a very uncomfortable time for most, but is more severe for some; the pain certain women suffer is crippling. Yet across the world, especially in certain cultures, women are discouraged from discussing the affects and requirements of this basic ...

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Women, power, privilege and Black Friday videos in Pakistan

Every year during the US post-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales, videos of brawls in the midst of the shopping madness at “big box” stores like Walmart and Target go viral. This year in Pakistan, on the same day, a video was widely shared of women fighting during a one-year anniversary sale at the retail store Sapphire, which claims to provide “affordable designer clothes to the masses”. The Sapphire sale — like the door-buster Black Friday sales at Walmart— is designed to create a mad rush. Sapphire marked down limited, heavily-marketed and widely-desired products by 50 per cent. If you didn’t get to the ...

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Are we purposely ignoring child sexual abuse in Pakistan (and our homes)?

The Pakistani media’s convincing rhetoric regarding the term sexual abuse and heart wrenching words such as ‘rape’ and ‘molestation’ have rightly highlighted the unjust practices that continue to affect our society. However, at times (or always) the hidden truth remains buried in the ground and the untold stories of millions are seldom brought to light. How many of you had the slightest idea that your helpless seven-year-old son, who wholeheartedly recited the Holy Quran alongside his so-called honest and unadulterated qaari sahib, was being sexually abused continuously in a barricaded room? We enjoy labelling ourselves as humble and modest beings when in truth we are the ...

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Fundamentalism: When a woman has to prove her ‘purity’ by balancing a rock on her head

August 2015 fell on South Asia’s shoulders as an overbearing weight and a massive shock – as preparations for Independence Day on both sides of the Pakistan-India border were underway. Pakistan’s largest child abuse scandal surfaced, wherein some 400 children had been victims to the perverted fantasies of sexually depraved men. There has been much debate and dissent as to what the rationale behind rape is, and everyone pretty much knows what drives a rapist to rape. What is more important to note here is the nonchalance of the police force and the deformed laws that govern the heinous crime that rape is. From across the border, ...

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