As the world marks International Women’s Day today, women in Pakistan have little to celebrate as they continue to endure violence, including murder in the name of honour.
On March 5, this newspaper reported a conference in Lahore being told that the government had failed to check violence against women, which registered a 13 per cent increase in 2009 compared to what it had been in 2008. According to the statistics made public at the conference, as many as 928 cases of rape and 604 cases of the so-called honour killing were reported from across the country last year. The social and economic exploitation that women in general suffer also adds to their plight, as do lack of education, fewer employment opportunities, social taboos and misperceived notions of modesty.
The government is yet to mean what it says about protecting women against violence. Its failure so far betrays lack of seriousness to tackle the problem. A society where such violence is abhorred and the perpetrator is taken to task will remain elusive until the government does away with a culture of impunity as well as discriminatory laws.
There is a pressing need for change in the way women are treated in society. That change must first take place within the family. Educational institutions and the media could also play a vital role in changing public mindset to a point where violence against women would readily invite obloquy and legal action.
Source: The News