Stories about working women

To Bushra and Dua Aamir: As a man, I apologise for how our society continues to treat you

Aamir Liaquat is neither new to misogyny nor to propagating hatred for minorities by calling for them to be murdered, as well as all other ugly things under the sky. After all, he shot to fame by mostly self-creating the controversies he is known for. From trying to give away babies on live TV and inciting hatred against groups by giving judgment calls against them, to using foul language for his opponents, he has never had any qualms when it comes to getting his hands dirty. We also witnessed how his filthy mind believes in sexualising fellow female colleagues, when he used ...

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Rawalakot, Kashmir is known for its beauty but it should be recognised for its exceptional women

The sound of the phrase, “women are not allowed to work” was so unfamiliar to me, until I reached university. I grew up seeing progressive, working women, like my mother and other relatives, in the society. I am from a small town in Kashmir called Rawalakot, situated in the northern region of Pakistan. This area is known more for its beauty and less for its exceptional women. Women of this area are termed exceptional because despite the existence of an ingrained patriarchal society, they have paved way to be achievers in life. According to the annual socioeconomic report of Kashmir, Azad Jammu Kashmir at ...

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Mahwish Arshad’s cold-blooded murder puts the killer and women behind bars

“O Mother! Hold me in thy embrace, For it is where no scoundrels roam; ‘tis the safest place, Come wipe my blood away and clutch me to your chest, I toiled the day away and now I wish to rest…” Last year, on our way to Lahore, my mother and I chose to travel through a private transport company bus. A young girl in her early 20s welcomed all passengers on board and started serving people food and drinks. A few minutes later, a group of boys boarded the bus and started signalling to the hostess. Their constant catcalling and bothersome behaviour was ...

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In Pakistan, does #MeToo come with a desi tarka?

The #MeToo campaign was initiated by activist Tarana Burke, after she had a conversation with a 13-year-old girl who opened up to her about sexual abuse.  The victim: A 13-year-old girl.  The purpose: To give her a voice.  The concept was to create awareness, and give a platform to the victims when their vulnerability had been taken advantage of. This was sexual assault, a highly sensitive matter. The international movement was bound to come home one day, and of course, in a country where the Chinese don’t recognise their own Manchurian and where pizza has seekh kebab layered over it, we gave the #MeToo ...

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When you don’t wear makeup to work and get asked, “beemar ho?”

I rarely wear makeup to work. Most days, I wear none. Not even BB cream, or eyeliner, or even a basic sort of lipstick. I don’t wear makeup, and I get asked about it, every single day. “Kya hua, kisi se larayi hui hai?” (What happened, have you had a fight with someone?) “Thori si lipstick tou laga lo, acha lagta hai.” (Put some lipstick on at least, it looks nice.) “You don’t want people to think you don’t care about your appearance.” “Listen, women should put some effort into their looks. Istarah achi image thori jaata hai.” (Otherwise it doesn’t present a good image.) “Dekho; presentation ...

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Our reaction to Muniba Mazari vs Khurram Shahzad is proof that in Pakistan, we’ll believe any allegation as long as it’s against a woman

It is almost frightening to see how we are left with only a few role models now. Some have died, some were killed, and others have their status hanging in between. Passing away is not always physical – sometimes heroes suffer what can be termed as a metaphorical death.  In Pakistan, our society is so strictly patriarchal that even having a female boss can be problematic, let alone a female role model. Working women will perhaps corroborate that it can be difficult for their male colleagues to accept a woman as their boss. Gossip about the boss is always stronger ...

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My feminism does not teach me to hate men

I was waiting to board a bus to Boston to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference, when one of my fellow teammates enquired about my undergraduate major. I excitedly and proudly exclaimed, “Gender, sexuality and women’s studies!” Considering that I was the only women’s studies major among the many political science majors, I took pride in that little piece of diversity that set me apart from the rest. Surprised at my response, she asked me, “On a scale of one to 10, how big of a feminist are you?” Assuming that she was joking, I let out a laugh, until I saw a serious ...

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Why I choose not to speak up and say #MeToo

Social media is surreal most of the time; however, this past week has seemed more unreal than usual. My timeline on every social media platform has been flooded, or dare I say bombarded, with #MeToo status updates, tweets and posts. The hashtag went viral after American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences with sexual harassment, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that shook Hollywood. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 My feelings on this hashtag, which ...

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How a newly hired employee is no different than a newly married bride

This isn’t one of those blogs about the social nuisance that weddings are, nor will it mention dowry, brides, grooms or even their families. Whether we like it or not, all of us have come across Star Plus soap operas. Never-ending dramas based around new brides, their unbearable miseries and the constant struggle to settle into their new family are constant themes in such soap operas. Instead, this blog is about how the Star Plus’ daughter-in-law resembles a newly hired employee at any organisation. Nearly a month ago, a friend of mine was extremely frustrated because she was transferred to a different department in her organisation. Her new team ...

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In Pakistan, men make decisions and women make dinner

Inequality between men and women is not something exclusive to the subcontinent or the Middle East. For instance, while allowed to participate in the army, women are still not permitted to serve in frontline combat in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Slovakia. In the United States, and other developed nations, women are consistently overlooked for promotions and paid less for doing the same work their male counterparts do. In this part of the world, however, we make a clear distinction. Gender inequality is far from over in the developed world but at least mainstream statements that promote equality and denounce ...

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