Lately, there has been a huge outcry regarding the content of the posters and placards displayed in Aurat March.

Given this country’s dismal statistics on the status of women, I think, there was nothing wrong with the seemingly explicit captions raised by many young women across the country. They were simply highlighting the ubiquitously present mindset that treats a woman as a mere object of sexual gratification and a bonded laborer. It is about time that we should start taking such voices seriously.

Assignment of gender-specific roles is a cultural constraint. The modern day world is no longer willing to accommodate such constraints. It has become a normative behavior for women to accept their ill-treatment by men: it is tragic, but it is true. Therefore, to take a sexist dig at these women, who came out to demand equal treatment for themselves is blatant misogyny.

In my humble opinion, the biggest ode to womanhood would be to start treating the women with due dignity and stop treating them as domestic workers. There should be no shame in sharing the burden of doing the house chores with our mothers, sisters, better halves, and daughters for that matter.

Unfortunately, the menace of gender discrimination has engulfed various sections of our society. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it has completely tarnished our social fabric, and fully shaken the primary foundations of our social architecture.

It has spread its tentacles to the sacred institutions like family, academics, workplace, and the entire public sphere. Today, it is such a powerful factor that it gets to decide the fate of a person even prior to his or her birth!

Let us admit this harsh reality for the sake of an argument. It is a pity that owing to some archaic cultural traditions and socio-economic pressures most of the newly married couples usually prefer to have a masculine child as their first-born because this society considers men as the symbol of strength while women are a liability.

Such narrow mindset and prejudiced behavior in the sub-continent results in abortion of female fetuses. It is due to these double standards that most of the women have to struggle throughout their lives to gain their fundamental rights. It not only reflects the hypocrisy of our society, in fact, also demonstrates the veracity of women struggles to gain their fundamental rights.

The issue of gender discrimination is not limited to any particular social class. It is a ubiquitously prevalent issue. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to eliminate gender biases from our society. There is an immediate need to change such a stereotypical mentality, which considers women as mere objects of sexual gratification and baby-factories: they are more than just being an object. They can be as much efficient as their male partners in every occupation. For what it’s worth, women are only advocating for their due rights. Why do people cease to understand that every human being, irrespective of his or her gender, is worthy of all the opportunities? As long as gender discrimination prevails, the status of women still hinges upon the patriarchal structure of our society.

TARIQUE AHMED ABRO,

Hyderabad Sindh, March 12.