Stories about women

Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

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Bravo, Jennifer Garner!

Jennifer Garner just did something wonderful, not just for herself, but for women globally. She accepted and celebrated her ‘baby bump’ and made the lives of her millions of followers easy. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, she graciously accepted, “Yes I have a ‘baby bump’. Hold up, I am not pregnant, but I’ve had three kids and there is a ‘bump’. From now on ladies, I will have a ‘bump’ and it will be my ‘baby bump’ and, let’s just all settle in and get used to it, it’s not going anywhere.” Her statement provoked an instant uproar, laughter and approval from ...

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Dear Iran, self-defense is not murder

The world celebrates and praises Malala Yousafzai – a Pakistani girl whose claim to fame was a bullet to her head, her fault being her desire to seek education – and while the world talks of empowering women, the world is perhaps ignorant of the plight of another young woman fighting for her life in neighbouring country, Iran. This brave, young woman happens to be 26-year old Reyhaneh Jabbari who can be put to death any time now, as her 10-day delay in execution ended last Wednesday. Her crime was stabbing a man to death, a man who tried to rape her. It was in ...

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Breast cancer: Pakistan’s most common cancer

It was the summer of 1999, when a bunch of us, final year medical students, were attending to patients in the crowded outpatient department at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. Our professor had called us to come see a patient in one of the consultation rooms. The patient was a young woman, no more than 35 years of age. She had come to the hospital with a large breast mass. She said that she had first felt the mass more than a year ago. After ignoring it for months, she had finally mustered the courage to talk to her husband about it. ...

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I am a girl and I love going to the mandi

It is considered a universal fact that a cattle market (mandi) is no place for a woman. “It’s a guy thing”, they say. “What would you do in a mandi?” They ask. “Are you sure you want to spoil that dress of yours while going there?” They ridicule. However, it wasn’t until I was physically present in a cattle market that I understood why the mandi was no place for a woman. And no, it had nothing to do with the animals. It had more to do with the people who were there to buy and sell. For me, they were the real ...

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A woman’s scream at a jalsa

First of all, I would like to make it clear that I am in no way trying to defame any political party. I am writing this simply to highlight our failure as a society. That being said, I would like to get straight to the issue, an issue that, sadly, I encountered at a recent jalsa I went to. This is an issue that I’m sure thousands of women in Pakistan face everyday but, somehow, it never surfaces enough to be addressed as a serious fault in our society. I’m talking about the harassment and groping of women in public spaces. ...

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When a rape victim is ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’

Outlawed in Pakistan won an Emmy this year for Pakistan and this is a triumph that must be celebrated on many levels. Pulitzer Centre grantees Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent five years in making this 45-minute-long short film, exposing the inherently flawed justice system of Pakistan. It’s another addition to the success spree of alternate filmmaking in Pakistan, two years after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy award for her documentary. It’s also an endeavour to bring forth the severe violation of women rights and how women, from extremely opposite social and economic backgrounds, work together to empower women all ...

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I see Gullus everywhere…

“There is no hypocrisy in Pakistan; we just have completely different standards for men and women.” The comment above summarises the general feedback I received on a meme I created, which went viral on Facebook last week. I hope the irony of that statement was not lost on them. The idea behind the meme was to call out a population that was in an uproar about Humaima Malick crossing over to the tinsel town next door but was showing a general acceptance towards Fawad Khan doing the same. I am no moral authority to judge anyone’s behaviour but it is always fun to start ...

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#HeForShe will not make you any less of a man

In an era where celebrities predominantly exercise an almost magnetic influence over their fan base to promote products and virtually dictate the way the populous dresses or behaves, it becomes exceedingly rare to see an individual stand up and talk about a pertinent issue. Emma Watson, an actress known mostly for her performance in the Harry Potter series, showed how celebrity power can be used in a positive way. Speaking before a UN conference, Watson kick started her ‘HeForShe’ campaign, a movement which aims to achieve gender equality by including men in the fight against female oppression. Although as a race, we have ...

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Islamabad fizzles out, so PTI does Karachi

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, DJ Butt and their merry gang kicked off their Pakistan tour yesterday by visiting the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) stronghold; Karachi. They undoubtedly drew a large crowd consisting of people from all walks of life. But then again, so does Jamaat-e-Islami. Large numbers at rallies or not, one thing that really gets to me is the massive pool of contradictions that are the PTI. They are credited with ‘emancipating women’ and the number of women at their processions and rallies is always highlighted. Yet the party had the lowest number of women contesting general seats ...

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