Stories about women empowerment

Being a woman: Why does marriage equal lifetime security?

“You’ll be left alone, to rot in a corner of the house owned by your brothers and their families.” “There’s a time when you’re wanted, and it doesn’t last long.” “People will ask questions like why our ‘peghla lur’ (young daughter)’ is still not taken!” Are you familiar with such statements? No? Unfortunately I am.  And so is every other girl of my area who is in her mid-twenties, educated …. but still not ‘taken.’ I remember the time when I passed my Matric exam. I had aimed to study at the best college of the province and I somehow managed to fulfil this ...

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Women’s empowerment and literacy: Have we underestimated the Northern areas?

The people of Northern Pakistan do not just reside on a higher altitude; in fact they are above us in many ways. They are healthier, wealthier and wiser. The northern areas of Pakistan, in addition to being one of the most beautiful places on earth, house some of the most brilliant people in our country (some of whom I’ve had the privilege to meet). Although I have had many friends from this area, I came abreast with their true potential and capabilities about six months ago, when I attended a residential youth camp with participants from all over Pakistan. A ...

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Proactive women fight for women!

At the second South Asian Women in Media conference in Bhurban over the weekend, there were no simple answers to address all the concerns raised. But there was a unanimous resolution to fight the rightwing propaganda that is increasingly dominating the media and the regressive mindset it represents. Women as journalists, anchors, actresses and directors are breaking stereotypes. They are braving death threats from militants and fighting harassment and discrimination. The delegates were from diverse backgrounds and represented a cross-section of the media. We endorsed a declaration to oppose restrictions on freedom. But more important than any document was the ...

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If I choose to wear a hijab, will you let me?

If feminism did one thing right for women it was to provide us with an abundance of choices. Something the fair gender hadn’t really experienced before. Whether it was the choice to wear pants and throw away those constricting corsets, or the choice to go out and vote and make a difference in the world. We could drive, abort or use contraceptives. These are the same choices that helped women like you and me get PhDs, work in male-dominated industries and hold top level positions and get equal pay. We could literally be men if we wanted to be! But if ...

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Pakistani women in the Pakistani advertisements world

“Main iske elaava kisi aur pe kabhi aitemaad nahi karsakti. Bhalay aap koi bhi aur lay ayein, main isko nahi chhor sakti. Ye mera partner hai.” (I cannot trust anyone but him. Bring whatever you can, I would never leave him. He is my partner.) A woman saying this must really like the person she’s talking about. The statement shows that she trusts him immensely and loves him enough to find him irreplaceable. It seems like they have a strong emotional bond; maybe it’s her husband or a friend she confides in? Isn’t this what you would ask yourself if you heard ...

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Muslim women are empowered and confident

 Do you have to wear a burqa when you are at home? It was a legitimate question, coming from peers, sometimes professors and occasionally even friends while I was in college in the United States. It wasn’t the innocence of the question itself, but rather the oppressive perception that followed which encouraged me to use my lens in order to express the complexity of being a woman in a country like Pakistan. I wanted to say no, that while some women were painted black head-to-toe, some draped a casual chaddar (shawl) on their heads, some roamed in jeans, while others went to underground ...

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Be kind to your teachers

I wonder if women are given presents on Women’s Day. Whatever the case, the Election Commission of Pakistan has definitely given Presiding Officer Habiba Memon and Assistant Presiding Officer Shagufta Memon the best Women’s Day present ever: restoration of their self-respect, which took a battering when Waheeda Shah slapped them during the by-elections recently in Tando Muhammad Khan. I am really happy about the way things are finally changing for women in the country. First Maya Khan got sacked for unethical journalism, and now Shah, who has been disqualified by the Election Commission for two years. Too much of power ...

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Girls can throw acid too

Earlier this week, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy returned to Pakistan after winning an Oscar award for making “Saving Face”, a documentary about women who are victims of acid attacks. Yesterday, a news report in the media about another acid attack caught everybody’s attention. This time, however, one thing was different; the girl wasn’t attacked, she was the attacker. Nabeela, an 18-year-old girl, in Faisalabad attacked her boyfriend Asif with acid after he allegedly decided to end a two year commitment. As far as I am aware, this is one of the first cases heard of where a woman has used acid as a weapon. While I admit my first ...

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