Uncharted waters


In its essence, the International Women’s Day, observed on March 8 each year, is marked to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world and emphasizes the need for continued action towards creating a more just and equal society, where all basic human rights are ensured to the people without any bias.
Unfortunately, despite significant progress being made in recent years, gender inequality remains a pervasive issue in many parts of the world and more so in Pakistan. The country has a long history of social attitudes and traditions that have created a highly gendered society, where women face a range of challenges, including limited access to education, employment opportunities, and political representation. Additionally, gender-based violence, including domestic violence, workplace harassment, and honor killings, remains a significant problem.
On Wednesday, major cities in the country attracted global media glare as tens of thousands of women took to the streets to hold Aurat March to mark the day. However, the rallies taken out simultaneously completely overshadowed the importance of the occasion.
Highlighted on mainstream media during the past one week, the Aurat March apparently received a severe backlash for its provocative slogans, banners and placards. The Aurat March organizers had to move the Lahore High Court after the authorities in Lahore refused to grant permission to the march for security reasons. It is obvious that the marchers consider themselves as a new emerging body or group making desperate attempts to challenge social attitudes and highlight issues facing women.
Despite these challenges, there have been some positive developments in the country in recent years. Women in Pakistan have become increasingly vocal in their demands for greater gender equality and have been actively participating in social, economic and political life. The government has also taken steps to address gender inequality, including passing laws to protect women’s rights and creating programs to promote women’s empowerment.
However, there is still a long way to go towards achieving true gender equality in Pakistan. One significant barrier is the persistence of social attitudes that continue to limit women’s opportunities and hold them back from achieving their full potential. These attitudes are deeply ingrained in the society and can be difficult to overcome, but efforts must be made to challenge and change them.
Addressing these challenges requires a multi-pronged approach that includes legal reforms, educational initiatives and public awareness campaigns.
It is essential to recognize the progress that has been made towards gender equality in Pakistan, while also acknowledging the ongoing challenges that women in the country face. It is crucial to continue to work towards creating a more just and equal society where women have the same opportunities and rights as men.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for a just and prosperous society. As a global community, we need to continue to advocate for gender equality and work towards creating a world where all individuals have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of their gender.