Stories about gender

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 ...

Read Full Post

The black and white of sexual harassment

The Oxford dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks” Gauging from this definition, the meaning is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Apparently not. I am often surprised (read: unimpressed), by the type of conversations I hear surrounding the so-called ‘dubious’ nature of sexual harassment. A few years ago, a colleague came to me saying she felt awkward by the way her now ex-boss would treat her while they were at work. She wasn’t sure if he was interested in her, or if he ...

Read Full Post

Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

Read Full Post

The ‘place’ for women is not just ‘the kitchen’

The term ‘male-dominated society’ does not mean (against common misconception) the subjugation of women to physical violence or having biases towards them. However, to say that it is nothing will also be a gross understatement. The term basically means an opportunity to attest and exhibit supremacy, in any form. Even a demeaning nod at the idea of an achievement by the opposite gender is as derogatory as the worst form of it may be. One doesn’t have to advocate ‘feminism’ or ‘masculinity’ to believe in gender equality – this only gives birth to more sexism. Sexism, like racism, should not be ...

Read Full Post

Times A-changin’: A seven-year-old girl’s open letter to Lego about gender inequality

Charlotte Benjamin, a seven-year-old girl, visited a Lego store and noticed that the few girl legos that were available were only ‘sit at home, go to the beach, shop and had no jobs’ while the boys ‘went on adventures, worked, saved people, had jobs and even swam with sharks’. That’s quite an observation and a strong opinion for a child so young. Lego is a popular construction toy manufactured by The Lego Group, a private company based in Billund, Denmark. Lego consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks and a collection of mini figures and gears. Lego blocks can be connected and ...

Read Full Post

In Vitro Fertilisation: Don’t choose a boy over a girl, choose a baby!

Being blessed with a baby opens up a new epoch in every couple’s life. There is excitement at the new arrival, fear of the impending responsibilities and the innate desire to protect the tiny being from all evils. Even the gender of the baby gives rise to a myriad of emotions, feelings and sentiments depending on whether it is a pink blouse or a blue shirt. However, the process of having a baby is not as easy for some as it is for others. Statistics reveal that 10% to 20% couples fail to have a baby the natural way. However, all hope ...

Read Full Post

Pakistanis – as charitable as we are corrupt!

What could I write about? I thought to myself, while taking a long drive down the smog filled roads of Sea View in Karachi, my birthplace and a city I keep returning to. Corruption, violence, poverty, slave labour, child abuse, acid victims, rape, gender discrimination. The possibilities are endless because we are an under-developed country with a plethora of topics ranging from the manic to the incredibly insane making lives quite exciting for photographers, journalists, documentary-makers and writers. Photo: Reuters Then, something remarkable happened. I was passing by one of the food stalls erected away from the beach area. A boy, barely eight-years-old, holding ...

Read Full Post

We don’t need to segregate men and women at rallies!

It was thoroughly mortifying to read about the harassment faced by women at the PTI rally on March 23, even more so with the realisation that it is not an isolated incident, but an illness our nation struggles with. I concede there is very little Imran Khan could have done to avoid this lamentable situation. Regulating vast crowds is always tricky business, let alone doing it in a rainstorm. I was, however, disturbed by the voting results at the end calling for separate arrangements for women at rallies. _____________________________________________

Do you think there should be separate arrangements for women at political rallies?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
_____________________________________________ It’s a perturbing proposition that the key to preventing harassment is enforcing gender segregation. ...

Read Full Post

‘Punish’ the eunuchs, because they are ‘vulgar’

We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side. Apt words by Thomas Mann. Life is hard for most Pakistani’s but for those of us who are different – whether by accident or by choice – survival is certainly an achievement. The transgender community of Multan realised this recently when the ASWJ demanded that their members be punished for spreading vulgarity in society. So now, an entire community is to be ‘punished’ for the sins, ...

Read Full Post

Boys just can’t be girls

Sitting alone in a train compartment, I waited for my co-passengers to arrive in Bangalore. Like several people, I enjoy being a silent observer of those around me and particularly on a long journey that I was about to undertake, I figured, it was a fine pastime. I was headed from Bangalore to New Dehli.  A lady, not more than 35-years-old, struggled her way into my compartment carrying a rather heavy child in her left arm and balancing a huge suitcase in her right. Her hair undone, sweat rolling down her forehead, her eyes showed relief that she made it ...

Read Full Post