“I found that a whole series of people opposed me simply on the grounds that I was a woman. The clerics took to the mosque saying that Pakistan had thrown itself outside the Muslim world by voting for a woman - that a woman had usurped a man’s place in the Islamic society.”

–Benazir Bhutto, 2003.

Benazir Bhutto was twice Prime Minister of the Islamic state of Pakistan. She was groomed for political office from the age of 9 by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Despite the innumerable criticisms against her policies and decision making abilities, Benazir did remain an icon, especially in Pakistan where women were hardly found anywhere near leadership positions.

The job quota for women and the setting up of a first women bank are some of Benazir’s contributions towards the economic uplifting of women. She also appointed female judges in higher courts and established women police stations in different parts of the country. In Pakistan, these measures paved way for social uplifting of women and also engendered a sense of security among them.

One may differ with Bhutto’s policies and approach yet the fact remains, today in Pakistan such women leaders are desperately needed. Even if she had to work within the system, she delivered whatever she could. With women’s movements gradually picking up speed , non-conventional methods of resistance taking centre stage and a general sense of rebelling against norms of society, women have come a long way from only using politics as a way of fighting the system.