After crossing the teenage phase of my life, I was assured that I will be allowed to achieve my goals and fulfil my aspirations. However, things turned upside down when I started working at the age of 24. My story was not different from any other girl who stepped out of her house to earn and explore the world. I was so happy and my parents were so proud of me! The little girl who cried and yelled for a small pack of chocolates at every shop was now able to buy one for her (eyes full of tears). To my utter astonishment, the society did not accept my happiness and my parent’s joy as we expected them to. I was not living in a typical joint family system but I was always under influence of my relatives sarcastic and stereotypical opinions.
In 2014 where 46.5% of total US women were part of the work force contributing significantly to the economy so on other hand, only 22.3% of total Pakistani females were part of the workforce. The major reason behind this is the cultural and traditional factors which have led to this huge gap between both the genders. However, what is more shocking is the stereotyping nature of male dominated society that restricts the women from achieving her goals and desires. I do not understand why the opposite sex has started considering women as a threat to their growth in the society. Well maybe it is because they fear that the female gender will build up the courage to step out of her comfort zone to work and to touch the skies!
The current scenario and some of the past cases has revealed some disturbing new problems about how women are “questioned” if they intend to work or why do they feel the need to work? Such questions are flooded with sarcasm and irony because the society expects the woman to stay indoors and restrict herself to house chores. Looking after the children and family and preparing meal for them is the only responsibility and role of a female living in Pakistan. Despite of the fact that online platforms and educational institutions had played a strong role in creating awareness yet they are questioned for their decision to work.
We are all surrounded by different cases of females where they are not allowed to follow their dreams. The Islamic theology plays a vital role in this as Islam gives the right to work and educate her. However, it is the society which has created hurdles for the women to breathe freely. Women in Pakistan, have to face, especially the ones who work live under an atmosphere of fear, mental and physical torture and abuse in their homes. Despite of the fact that Pakistan is a cultural and diversified country still, Pakistani working women has to face the clan system which humiliates and discourages women who leave their homes to work.
Relating to a recently media hyped scandal of Qandeel Baloch, where the social media celebrity and model was killed in the name of honour. Tracing back to the history of her life, she belonged from a conservative poor family and in order to feed her family, she approached a different path. I found people debating over what she has done but I never heard anyone talking about her courage and her audacity to work in a society which never respects such women. Though the incident triggered people’s mindset but to my absolute disappointment, no one still talks about why she was killed for “HONOUR”.
Women belonging from low income families depend on their better half or their guardian for protection whereas working women are threatened by the taunting attitude and behaviour. Some of the incidents that I witnessed around my surroundings were not less than a painful tragic incident where women were divorced in some cases and some were subject to verbal and physical abuse from their in-laws and extended families. Such incidents disturbed me and I am not able to digest the fact that in an Islamic society, the status of a working woman can be so distressing. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that my cousin recently had to quit her managerial level position in a well-known bank because of her husband’s unstoppable male ego pinching him to drown his wife into a traditional 9 to 10 housewife and not a professional!