Stories about women empowerment

In Iran, you can marry your 13-year-old adopted child

Define irony: When you pass a bill to ‘protect’ children and in that bill you allow a man to marry his adopted daughter even if she is as young as 13-years-old. Woody Allen, are you listening? I think it’s time to move to Iran. Or at least base your next movie there. Or maybe George RR Martin would be interested in this as his next plot twist? Parliamentarians in Iran have recently passed such a bill, I kid you not. It allows the caretaker to marry his or her adopted child if the court rules in the interests of the child. There are so many fundamental issues with ...

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What if she didn’t want to be a ‘chaand si bahu’?

Her parents have told her to get ready. A family is about to visit their home to ‘see’ their daughter. The parents are all set to welcome the guests; the prospective in-laws of the girl. The guests leave on a positive note, telling the host family that they ‘liked’ the girl and will be visiting again along with other family members. This is exactly the sort of comments any daughter’s parents would want to hear from those special guests. However, the happiness remains for a short term only as the parents are later informed that they were looking for a ...

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Dear Imran Sahib, as a PTI supporter, I think you need to take a step back

Dear Sir, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters across the country celebrated the party’s 19th foundation day a few days ago. Indeed PTI has come a long way since then, through your sheer perseverance and determination. Today, PTI stands as the second largest party in the country and has positioned itself as a challenger to the status quo. You yourself have said that, “PTI is an idea whose time has come.” However, going from number two to number one is perhaps the most difficult step. As they say, the last mile is the hardest. And the way PTI is going right now, I am afraid that it may not make it. Being ...

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There is a difference between #MyChoice and #DeepikasChoice

Dear Deepika, I have been a fan of yours ever since you graced us with your presence on the big screen. When you spoke out against a national publication in your country, for misusing an inappropriate picture of you, I was with you. People thought it hypocritical, seeing that you are an actress who has time and again displayed skin as a part of your work in front of the camera. But the reluctant feminist inside me still defended your right to bash the publication. When you came out to the public and admitted to have gone through a phase of depression, I admired your strength and still ...

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Is a Muslim scholar allowed to disrespect a woman?

Wow! That was my first reaction when I came across a certain incident making waves on social media, catching the attention of people globally. A gutsy Lebanese female TV host, Rima Karaki, strong-armed her guest, London-based Muslim scholar Hani Al Seba’I, live on air after he told her that it was beneath him to be interviewed by a woman. Being a TV presenter myself, I am very well aware of the fact that no anchor enjoys giving their guest a shut up call. Talk-show hosts are often bound by respect and obligation for their guests because of personal affiliations. It also takes a lot of ...

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No, Jyoti Singh is not India’s daughter

India’s Daughter, Leslee Udwin’s documentary on the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012, was aired last night in the UK on BBC Four. It’s a hard documentary to watch, because it’s a terrible story to tell: A young woman gets brutally raped and tortured to death by six men. It’s horrifying enough without adding the details and the film has plenty. Her dreams of being a doctor, paid for by her parent’s small savings and by her nights at the call centre. The rapists’ hatred of the fact that she was a woman and she was out, with ...

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‘Sharing’ rape

The plight of women in Pakistan is a grotesque reality; so shameful that even in today’s day and age most aspects of their suppressed lives are considered taboo for public debate. One such area is the crime of rape, and marital rape in particular, where the latter is still not considered an offence or a wrong-doing in this land of the pure. The Sughra Imam Report which was recently presented before the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice revealed that there has been a zero conviction rate for rape in the past five years and the main reason behind this is the ...

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Anti-rape law amendment: Another victory for Pakistan

They say we have come a long way since the 80s – the fashions, the styles, the music, the technology. It seems like society is taking a giant leap forward when it comes to development and evolution given that the past couple of decades have been the ones that earmarked rapid changes in social progress. When it comes to women in Pakistan, however, the graph seems to be erratic and stunted at best. The 80s brought to the women of Pakistan a terrible code of injustice vis-à-vis the Hudood Ordinance, a retrogressive set of laws that we still have in place. Not ...

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Do we need a ‘females-only’ mosque?

January 30, 2015, was a defining day for Muslim women in the United States. Close to 150 women gathered at the Interfaith Pico-Union Project, in Los Angeles, at a mosque to offer their Friday prayers. However, that wasn’t the unique aspect. What was unique was that while there are many mosques in the US which accommodate women, this particular mosque was built just for them. For the first time in the US, we were introduced to the idea of a females-only mosque, which is managed and administered by women alone. After the prayers were offered, the women gathered around the khateeba (one who delivers sermons) who ...

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NEFER: Fabulous handbags, fabulously Pakistani!

I am all for entrepreneurship. Be it any field, I have a great sense of respect for whoever decides to venture into the field and willingly commits to the several pressures and demands innate to the entire prospect. As a nation we have had our fair share of notorious leadership, misguided groups and tragedies, with a few to thank. We have also hit the rock bottom at various times, yet I have not given up on the Pakistani youth. Being a part of the generation myself, I am extremely proud of what we are capable of achieving. From the business sector to ...

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