Just a few years ago, if people thought of KP, Fata and Pashtun women in one sentence, words like oppression, inequality, and weakness came to the mind. This is the picture that has been etched into our brains for decades. Even, women in KP and Fata are still thought to be subjected to domestic violence, cruelty, and oppression solely for being a woman in an otherwise male-dominated society.

Although true to some extent, this outlook towards women in KP and Fata has been altered due to the recent achievements of many Pashtun women who are breaking barriers in various fields like the police, politics and the army; fields that were earlier thought to be unorthodox for women to join. Not only are these women celebrated by the media for their boldness, but they are also praised for their meticulous work towards paving the future for other women in the province. These women serve as an example of courage and bravery for many young women around them.

However, while it is true that certain women in KP and Fata are slowly but surely coming out of their shells, there are many who are still unable to do so. The women in KP and Fata are either admired for their boldness or sympathised with because of their hardships. And while the media blindly covers the two extremities of the lives of women in KP and Fata, it fails to acknowledge existence of the common Pashtun woman. These women are the ones who are living their lives without being given a platform to showcase their everyday lives. These are women who are neither oppressed, nor glorified.

Many people in Pakistan as well as all over the world are still oblivious to how a common KP woman lives her life. What the media fails to recognise is that the life of a common Pashtun woman has significantly changed over the years. Women, who just a few years ago were not allowed to leave their homes, are being educated, getting jobs and earning for their families. Where once women were ostracised for something as simple as sitting in the front seat of a car, now, can be seen driving on the roads by themselves, and where once women could not imagine going to the market without being clad in a burka and accompanied by a male companion, they can be seen around town with nothing more than a shawl freely roaming around. KP and Fata have also seen a significant hike in female students in schools over the years and child marriages have seen a significant decrease despite the latest child marriage restraint bill being shot down.

The media fails to identify the many Pashtun women who are not only more educated but are also more modern than many other women of other castes in Pakistan. While there are many Pashtun women who are still subjected to oppression, there are many, whose lives are not as bad as the media has led us to believe. But due to the blind eye of the media towards these women, many people are not aware of the fact that things are not as they used to be in the KP and Fata.

While Imran Khan’s administration has truly helped in making the Pashtun women independent in recent years, credit cannot be solely given to it.

Similarly, there are those women whose lives have been further ruined due to the increased Talibanisation in the region. Not only are these women subjected to violence but they also face more restrictions, imposed on them by male family members.

While the media continues to cover the lives of Pashtun women as black or white, it often neglects to mention the gray. The life of a common Pashtun woman needs to be shown in the media not only to inform people about the realities of KP and Fata women but also to abolish the misconception that all Pashtun women are either suffering or flourishing.