Status of Women as Second Class Citizens

May 3, 2015 Comments Off on Status of Women as Second Class Citizens
Status of Women as Second Class Citizens

This extract is a part of a thesis written on,’ Voilence Against Women in Pakistan, by Jehanzeb Noor for his Bsc Degree in the Universty of Massachsetts, America in 2004, but the facts still remain the same. Edit

The socio-economic status of women is a detriment to their domestic rights in Pakistan. A brief overview of the plight of Pakistani women reveals this state of affairs. According to the government only 38 percent of women in the country are literate, compared to 63 percent of men. Most women are financially dependent on the male members of society. This means that victimised women cannot leave their households for fear of unemployment, leading to starvation. The men in these households are aware of the situation and exploit it to the fullest by mistreating their wives, daughters or sisters. Independent observers believe the participation of women in the labour force to be only around 10 percent. 10 Moreover, a typical Pakistani female has little awareness of her legal and civil rights, because she is illiterate. Enrolment of girls at schools in the country also remained lower for Pakistan than any of its neighbouring countries, suggesting that it will lag behind in the years ahead. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistanl 1, women in the country remained among the least educated in the world, with only 0.3 percent of women literate in the tribal areas of the NWFP. Similarly, in Balochistan province, the literacy rate for women was estimated at just over three percent. The proportion of incidents of domestic violence is higher in these two provinces than in the rest of Pakistan. It is apparent that the lower the literacy among women, the 10 State of Human Rights in Pakistan, 2002 ll Women in the Labour Force, 2003 25 higher the probability of their mistreatment due to their lack of awareness and independence both social and financial. A number of restrictions have been imposed on women to reduce them to second class citizens. The parents of a girl often do not educate her because she is not required to seek employment. They also fear that education would make her independent, modem and liberal. If family income is low, the male children claim all the family s affection and resources. The girl on the other hand is condemned to perform domestic chores, including looking after younger siblings without any appreciation or compensation. Women have little choice but to accept these roles. The concept of chadder, a large cloth usually draped over the head and upper body as a veil, arises from the vision of women as primarily and inherently sexual. Women are generally perceived to pose a risk to the honour of men in their families. The men believe that female relatives are embodiments of threats to their honour. Hence the symbolic or actual adherence to chadder is enforced by linking the woman s behaviour to the honour of the family. Given the socioeconomic conditions and familial requirements for a Pakistani woman, her status is not fully human. I do not have to look beyond my own family to see the true status of a typical Pakistani woman. My own talented and hardworking cousin was barred from pursuing an education abroad despite receiving a prestigious scholarship. This was because somehow, sending her away even to a place where women have more legal rights would jeopardise the family s honour. Most women have to give up more than educational opportunities such as their rights to a consensual marriage or to the custody of children upon a divorce

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