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Discrimination against women

A FEW days ago a policeman murdered his wife and a man on the pretext of karo-kari in Khairpur. Earlier Tasleem Solangi was thrown before dogs before being shot. Her elder sister too had had a similar fate four years ago.

Domestic violence remains the order of the day because men have arrogated to themselves the mythical character of demi-gods. The sad story does not end here. Many legislative instruments contain provisions giving women an inferior status like the ‘Islamised’ law of evidence – Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order 1984 (Article 17 of the said order equals the testimony of two women to that of one man’s). It is a grave injustice to women and must be removed from the statute book.

The attitude of male chauvinism, a product of feudal mindset, has endangered the balanced progress in our country and we, as a nation, have failed to liberate ourselves from the straitjacket of mediaevalism. It is a sad truth that here a husband is not content with a rational companion, rather he demands slavish obedience from wife. Men ravel in their schadenfreude and blunt the real potential of women by circumscribing their public role.

Moreover, gender discrimination has divided our society into voluptuous tyrants (alpha males) and innocent victims (poor women), with the latter locked in an endless battle to overthrow the former’s hegemony. It should come as no surprise that soon after her birth, a girl gets trapped in a tangled web woven to mould her to serve men’s selfish pleasures. It is heartrending that the gruesome incidents against women are often sanctioned by distorted religious version of women’s status.

The lawmakers sitting in parliament must ensure women empowerment by ending institutionalised discrimination against them and investing with them better opportunities of their socio-economic development. Mere increase in the number of legislative seats cannot achieve the desired results. Concrete steps are needed to be taken in this regard. Women’s education is the best way to give them an opportunity to realise their creative potential and contribute to social welfare.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/13/2008

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