At every national event, from Eid to Independence day, people can be found celebrating in the streets. There is music, dancing, rash driving. These people, constitute only men- only men can celebrate, enjoy their city, dance and be in public with friends. Women have to be safely home. After all, Pakistan is no place for a woman.

There are women who trying to make their country female-friendly, like the women who started the #GirlsAtDhabas movement, women at the NGO Dil (Developments in Literacy) who have a widespread network of schools and go to the extent of educating mothers of the children their schools, female journalists who are struggling to escape their stereotyped roles as high-pitched anchors with too much makeup to become serious reporters, women who are winning Noble prizes and Oscars- the list is endless. Yet, the news remains devoid of them, or re-labels them as harlots, US/Zionist agents, or elites working for elite causes. A male entrepreneur, or activist will get his story on page 2 of a paper, a woman, doing the same will get relegated to the corners of the paper.

The recent coverage of the divorce of Imran and Reham Khan in our significantly male dominated media and society is one case in point. All the upstanding papers, and journalists, mostly men, went all-out to analyse and dissect the marriage to the point of making even the loudest most gossipy society “aunty” blush. This is how women are seen and the coverage they are given the papers. Not one senior journalist will investigate or give coverage to stories on women if they are about economic oppression or social exclusion but will dedicate pages on pages to scandal.

The problem of male privilege is pervasive. We live in a country where a woman has to think twice about setting out of her house, all for fear of men. There will be very few women in Pakistan who can proudly say that they were not whistled at, stared at, or groped while in public, regardless of dress of physique. This is not about the liberal values of female equality and progress. This is about the very traditional and conservative idea of respect for women and respect for work.

Male privilege has become male violence. It manifests in Christian girls being forced to convert, and then being forced to marry Muslims. It manifests in sexual harassment in the workplace, and domestic violence at home. It manifests in sexist adverts defended on grounds that they are “just a joke”, and the banning of adverts on contraception that can subtly teach men to be responsible. We can’t continue to hide our girls away because of the danger of men, it is men who need to change.