In Pakistan, the story of woman’s depressing life begins at birth as a girl is an undesirable child. As we have a patriarchal society a girl’s life is a journey of subservience, she is ruled by her father and brothers then by her husband and in old age her sons dictate to her. In all these roles as daughter, sister, wife and mother no one cares for her feelings, needs or desires. She is subjugated and harassed, sacrificed by her own family, in the name honour, even married to the Quran to save property and burned with acid. Surprisingly, it is not only the patriarchal mind-set which suppresses her but other women of the family such as mother–in-law and others, as it is a mindset.

Women empowerment refers to “the ability of women to transform economic and social development when empowered to fully contribute in the decisions that affect their lives.” Women empowerment is not about letting them do whatever they want to; it is about giving them basic rights like health, education and making them aware that they are a part of the society and have equal rights, as they are equally important. Verbally we all call ourselves Muslims, but practically we are living without involving Islam in our daily lives. We need to promote a culture that respects women as equal members of the society, only then can we truly excel as a progressive and strong society.

KHADIJA NAEEM,

Lahore, January 28.