This can be gauged from the increase in the number of women who sought to dissolve their marriages in Rawalpindi. According to a recent report, there were nearly 3,900 family cases filed by women that were pending in courts in Rawalpindi in 2006, up by 1,200 over the year before; of that number nearly 50 per cent of the cases were for divorce filed by women. This proves that women are gaining more awareness about their rights and feel strong enough to end abusive or oppressive marital ties. That recent amendments in the law have further empowered them to exercise their rights is also a welcome development. Society too is waking up to the realisation that education is vital for women. More and more women are looking for job opportunities that were previously considered a man’s domain. Organisations too are coming forward to offer more job opportunities to women along with men. All these are positive signs of progress.
However, there is still a long way to go before women can feel they are truly empowered. Retrogressive elements like illiterate clerics are averse to the idea of a woman’s right to divorce her husband no matter what the reason for it, and as a result many women do not know that they have that right. There is still a lot of stigma associated with divorce; many believe that rising divorce rates are a sign of the breaking down of the family system. These misconceptions and taboos need to be broken Non-government organisations must continue to educate society on shedding discriminatory attitudes towards women.