“Patriarchy is a system of society in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”
According to UN Women Pakistan, the 2017 Census reveals that men and women constituted 51% and 49% of the total population of Pakistan, respectively. However, despite being 49% of the population, women are still facing discrimination in all fields of life. Pakistan ranks among the worst countries in gender parity after Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, this discrimination starts in their homes. Not long ago, we heard about the barbaric murder of a newly born daughter by her father in Mianwali, which reminds us of the stone age. It was not an incident; it is a mindset that still prevails in our society that women are inferior to men. This mindset always puts pressure on women to produce sons. This mindset tells us the never-ending socially conditioned perks of having sons, telling us “Betay to betay hi hoty hai”, “Beton ki maon ke bat hi aur hoti hai”. Society makes sure that daughters always feel less competent than sons.
There are many areas in Pakistan where girls are not allowed to go to school, they have no access to higher education and foreign education as compared to boys. According to a survey in 2015, only 45% of the female population is literate as compared to 69% of the male population.
Gender-biased bigotry even controls the lives of women. They don’t have access to reproductive health rights. Every year in March, we hear the slogan “Mera jism meri marzi”. You can agree or disagree with this slogan, but the reality is that the majority of women in our society don’t have the power to make any decisions about their health. They are forced to produce unwanted children. This gender-based inequality is one of the reasons for maternal mortality (69%) in Pakistan, which is the second-highest in South Asia.
Women don’t have much awareness to protect themselves from the different forms of violence, including physical, psychological, domestic, sexual, and spousal violence. Even 7.6% of women face physical violence during pregnancy, which leads them to death.
Women are more susceptible to child marriages and honor killings than men. We can’t forget Qandeel Baloch‘s murder. Unfortunately, her murderer is free now, which is blatant proof of patriarchy in our society. Girls are raised with the burden of being the honor of the family, on the other hand, men are free of this kind of burden, and their acts are not judged in the name of honor but women are.
Now the question is how we can demolish the patriarchal system.
In my opinion, we can eradicate patriarchy, gender-based violence, and discrimination by providing education and a good upbringing to our sons. We should realize that the government can provide facilities and make laws to punish culprits but can’t teach men to respect women or change the mentality of our society. The only way to change the gender-biased mindset is to provide awareness to both men and women. Being a boy’s mom can be a privilege in our society, but in reality, it is a great responsibility on a woman’s shoulder to raise her son with a kind, caring, and decent personality who knows how to respect a woman and how to respect the rights of women. This responsibility lies not only with mothers but also with the fathers of sons.
“Empowering women is key to building a future we want”.AMARTYA SEN