By: Israa Aslam
Social media feminism is in the air currently. Nowadays in Pakistan we see that feminism is stuck among some privileged class. The issues among those feminists is to wear “dupatta” or not to cover their bodies or not, to cook or not, or to discriminate men but now it is needed to understand that actual feminism is beyond “apna khana khud garam kro”.
The problem which is rising, is that the genuine and actual alarming issues are getting behind the wall. Problems that should be taken seriously are, transportation issues, educational problems, workplace problems, inheritance rights, maternity issues, health issues, negligence in basic rights of women.According to a report there are around 85000 female doctors, who completed their medical education on the expense of state or privately but they are not part of the medical workforce in Pakistan.According to the United Nations Population Fund, Pakistan has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in South Asia. These are the actual alarming issues for women in Pakistan. These are the issues which requires most of the consideration. There are tons of such issues we hear on daily basis. The word FEMINISM carries a history in it but most of us are unaware of it, majority of the people in this region carries a stereotype and prejudice in their minds against feminism, but now it is needed to understand that what feminism is actually?
Majority of the Pakistan’s population critically receive feminists.First we have to make it clear that Feminism is beyond “apna khana khud garam kro” , it is much more than that. It’s about the equality of rights for women as men. “It’s not about superiority of any gender but the equality of it, it is not about discrimination of men but the value of women”. Equality doesn’t mean that women want to be same as men, no-one can be the same , it is just about the rights, the status, the worth, the value, the participation, the role. It is needed to broader our visions to look into the matters that are entangled from ever. We need to give our thoughts a check and make things easier for ourselves and for the world. In Pakistan when we talk about feminism or women empowerment, we get know that there is a limited criteria of thought on which majority of people had based their opinions and they are blindly following their own frame of mind, without knowing about the facts.
Talking about Islam, the word feminism is rarely associated with it in this region. It is not wrong to say that Islam is a feminist religion. We need to acknowledge that the very first feminist was from Islam. After the arrival of Islam, Feminist approach was there in every era. In every era there was one invisible hand fighting the battle of equal rights for women. Prophet (PBUH) was the first person who raised voice for women rights. Before Islam i.e in the age of ignorance(the days of Jahiliya) girls were not even given the right to live, they were buried alive because they ‘supposedly’ bring shame to the family. Islam has given women the right to live, the right to take decisions for her-self, the right to get education, political rights, the right in inheritance, the right to work. the right to take part in political activities. The right to vote was given women by Islam in 600 century, long before the modern convenience, altough in US women was given the right to vote in 1920.In Europe if a woman holds her own property, after marriage she has to transfer it to her husband, in 1870 a bill was passed so it let women keep the ownership of their properties. In Islam there is no such concept, islam gives woman right to have her own property and investments without any condition like one.
Women also took part in battles. “Nusayba Bint ka’ab Al Ansariyya-7th century known as the women warrior of Arabia is an example who took part in a battle along with Prophet(PBUH) and she was one of the key people to protect Prophet.
There are tons of such examples which shows us how Islam has given the rights to women and empowers them, but the thing is most of us are unaware of them and though we still westernized the concept of feminism.
‘The concept of feminism in Pakistan itself is not wrong, wrong is just the way some people are portraying it.’ Feminism is not for a specific groups, class, caste, colour, region or religion. No one needs any special degree to be a feminist. Feminism is just another word for equality. It is true that men and women can’t be the same, in-fact men and men or women and women can’t be the same, we have to evaluate it by facts and logic, then we will see that the role and significance of women will be more, not less. We have to make it clear that feminism is not just a western concept or movement, it is the name of equality. We should stop passing judgments on feminism and try to start understanding the basic concept of it. It is associated with both men and women, we should not marginalized it by saying it a concept of west because even Islam is feminist. And it is needed to bring feminism back on track in this region. We should focus on the actual alarming issues, we should take those matters to the parliaments. Each of us have to fight the battle of equal rights to live because, feminism is not only for the elites, but also for those who stays at home.
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