PESHAWAR: Change in the mindset of society was required as women in different parts of the country were deprived of their rights guaranteed under the constitution and law, said speakers at a function here on Tuesday.
They said that women should struggle for overcoming the hurdles to get their rights as nobody would provide them the same in charity.
They added that women had been denied their right to participation in politics, getting education, health facilities and liberty.
The function titled ‘Inspiring change’ was organised by Aurat Foundation in connection with International Women’s Day at Human Rights Study Centre, University of Peshawar wherein prominent women from different walks of life shared their experiences with the participants, mostly students.
Renowned Pashto singer Mahjabeen Qazalbash, former provincial minister Sitara Ayaz, known entrepreneur Zile Huma and senior journalist Farzana Ali spoke on the occasion.
Ms Qazalbash, known as Bulbul-i-Sarhad (the nightingale of Sarhad), said that it was very difficult for her in a Pakhtun society to start singing. She said that although Pakhtuns loved music yet they hated the musicians.
She added that it was because of her hard work and dedication that she earned respect among the people.
Ms Qazalbash highlighted the importance of education and asked the participants to focus on their education as it was important for their future. She said that several singers enjoyed fame in the province but still people didn’t want their children to join the showbiz world.
Ms Ayaz, who is also a leader of Awami National Party, said that change in the society was an evolutionary process and it could not be brought overnight. She said that the mindset of the society needed to be changed towards working women.
“Even when I was appointed minister in the previous government, initially I felt that my staff was feeling uneasy as it was hard for them to accept a woman as a minister,” Ms Ayaz said.
She asked the students, especially females, to first make themselves aware about their rights and then strive for getting the same.
She said that politics was social work for her and during her stint as minister she tried to introduce women and children friendly laws in the province, especially to check inhuman customary practices in vogue in the society.
Ms Ali recalled her struggle of joining the field of journalism as a reporter and becoming bureau chief of a private television channel. She said that like her male colleagues she was never hesitant of going to the conflict-hit areas in the province and adjoining tribal areas.
Ms Ali said that although the overall atmosphere was not conducive for women journalists because of militancy yet it remained her resolve to perform her job up to the mark.
Ms Huma, a fashion designer and vocational trainer, also talked about her struggle when she started extending vocational training to women in 1997 and then starting her own boutique.
She said that women had to show courage and self confidence in whichever field they wanted to excel.
Earlier, an Urdu documentary “Mia Safar May Hoon” (I am travelling) was screened to show the plight of women and different developments taking place in this regard in the country. The participants also posed several questions to the speakers regarding their career.