Countering challenges has always been a very dominant part of women’s life. When she is born, she counters half of her blood relations mourning over the fact that the child is not a boy. When she enters into her teen life, she encounters almost every kind of challenge that could subdue her. Yes, all the challenges you are thinking of right now. She is raised to believe that her life is not going to be as easy as her brother; that she is always going to be a subject to someone’s authority. She is raised watching her mother’s voice being stifled by her father’s rage. When she is finally independent enough to do something for herself, the societal expectations barge in to make an entrance to try to suppress her voice. Letting women do whatever they want is an alien concept in our society. And it is simply because it threatens the very existence of men and their power over the vulnerable. If a woman is brave enough to defy the norms and chooses to be self-sufficient, there is an endless list of the barricades (especially in Pakistan) waiting for her to step out of the chaar deewari and tear her down.
Women in our country have constantly been thwarted by complex interplay of traditional and contemporary factors. Their struggles have been marginalized; their voices been silenced. But from time to time, the history has witnessed incredible examples of how our women have fought their way through the barriers that would rather, very much, prefer to see her weak, and dependent. The same nation that gasps on watching Halima Sultan fighting alongside Ertugrul, restricts the mobility of women at their homes, limits their social interactions, and imposes social, cultural, and traditional taboos on them.
The patriarchal structure of our society has prevented our women from benefitting from the same economic benefits they contribute to. The relationship between a woman and her desire to do something for herself or her parents is bittersweet. Mostly, bitter. Because when her father is generous enough to give her the best education she could possibly receive, she feels constantly in debt to prove herself to the only man who believed in her. But she also knows that is it. She knows that her father will marry her off as soon as her education is completed (preferably, before that). After being rendered under the guardianship of another man, the pressure to demonstrate her worth drastically increases. Best case scenario, her current guardian is pretty flexible and allows her to make her own decisions, thus her dream of being independent is on its way to being fulfilled. Worst case scenario, she did not expect that her guardian is not the only person she has got to answer.
From enduring passive aggression on a daily basis to being harassed in any space she finds herself vulnerable in, being a working woman comes with a handful of challenges and the checklist drastically peaks when it comes to women working and leading a team under their administration. It is just so difficult for our prejudiced society to accept the fact that a woman is just as capable of sitting on a directing seat as men, if not more. It is a sad truth that despite the evidence of their effectiveness, women have to work twice as hard to climb the management ladder. There is inequity and imbalance in all sectors of socio-economic development and lack of provisions to ensure a women’s access to all the development benefits and services.
Only about 25% of women in our country who have a university degree work outside their homes. Out of these women, around 1% contribute to female entrepreneurship rate in Pakistan. Because no matter how much we think we have evolved, our