Inequality between men and women is a natural phenomena. Women are treated differently everywhere in the world not only in the public places but also at home. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of few countries where this inequality can be witnessed at its heights. Women are socially, economically and culturally discriminated in all spheres of life especially in Pakistan. They are forced to work under the harshest environments and without any financial benefits for their complete life in the name of family and tradition.
Despite the fact that women share equal rights under Islam and Constitution of Pakistan, they seldom get a chance to demand their right in a male dominated society of Pakistan. They are denied education, health facilities and even boys are given preference during food distribution over girls at every meal in rural areas. Women are forced to bear the complete burden of housekeeping and at the very same time are also required to be a helping hand in family business especially in agriculture.
In rural areas dignity of women is often exploited in different dimensions because of poverty and other socio-economic factors. Since her birth she is treated as a second grade citizen within the family. Boys are preferred over girls due to a common perception that sons are economic utility whereas daughters are economic liability and burden on the family. Women are forced into early marriages to reduce the burden on family. These marriages often involve high dowry which creates a huge burden for girl’s parents. Cultural norms in most parts of the country requires that woman either has to stay at home or ask permission while going outside the house.
However, the situation in urban areas is much better. There educational and health facilities for girls and working environment for ladies is also improving to support working women. Government and NGOs are taking positive measures to ensure equal rights for women. Exclusive seats for women have been reserved in all cadres be it universities or national assembly. Women are also taking active part sports and other cultural activities.
In Pakistan gender inequality based on social, cultural and legal practices overrides the biological advantage of being born female. Policy makers, health professionals and human rights workers in Pakistan should become active in promoting gender equality and take necessary measures for provision of education, health and economic opportunities to women on equal basis.