State of women in Pakistan is still unfortunate

By: Syed Shahzaib Haider

Women here aren’t having life with no trouble. Facing enormously uneven distribution of socioeconomic development. Generally, our society is Patriarchal and doesn’t drive in favor of a women. Struggle for getting equal rights is as old as the age of Pakistan. The situation in our country for women is getting progressively worse. Literacy rate of women in Pakistan is still 45%. Health care system is also in view of that is inadequate. Employment proportion is not connecting the dots of the developmental criteria of our country. Pakistan’s constitution prohibits discrimination by every mean but still there are many issues that encourages the inequality. The laws of honor killing, domestic violence and electronic crimes are not fiddling. All these things are the root cause to low developmental growth and very less foreign direct investment.

If we want Sustainable economic development in Pakistan we need to admit that it is directly proportional to the human capital that could only be increased through education. We have very low human capital because of weak education ideals. That’s the reason that we have been announced as the lowest performing south Asian country for education standard and 2nd worst country in the world for gender equality in 2017 in UN report. It is reported that 56% of male students compared to 44% of their female counterparts are attending schools. The situation is very deplorable in rural areas as the schools for girls are deprived of basic facilities i.e. protective boundary wall, clean water and clean toilets. Parents can never send their children to schools that have no privacy? Only 20% of residents in rural areas of Baluchistan can read and write. Pakistan has the lowest literacy rate in Asia.

Very few female students can reach the degree level which is a chaos. In 2016, Pakistan received $1,498,937 in the form of school construction from Central Asia Institute and local supporters of Pakistan but the developmental work of that kind is not on ground in reality. Pakistan had also received $1.2m from Central Asia Institute in FY 2018-19 as a developmental aid. 79% of the total primary school of Pakistan is located in the rural areas which has a poor infrastructure lacking basic needs. The gender disparity is comparatively lower in urban areas with reference to rural areas as of their feudal traditions.

Our healthcare system is so poor and policies are short term and are on ad hoc basis. Which makes us one of the unhealthiest nations in the world with poor health indicators. Satisfactory healthcare facilities for women in rural areas are not at hand. Women in parliament are paying no heed to the real issues. Majority of the country’s Basic Health Centers and Regional Health Centers are not operational while the rest have no emergency and obstetrical care for 24 hours. Many of our young women die each year from pregnancy issues. According to the UN report, women in Nigeria are better nourished than women in Sindh which mean that the budget given for health for last 70 years was always torpedoed. Majority of the women, particularly in rural areas are diagnosed with anemia, an iron deficiency disease caused by low socioeconomic conditions.

Women in Pakistan are facing different types of cancers including breast, cervical, ovarian and colon. The chemotherapy is so expensive that poor women cannot afford it. Radiation therapy if available free in government hospitals is overcrowded with limited staff to operate it smoothly. It is discovered from the research that low socio-economic conditions, mal-nutrition and lack of resources are the main causes of cancer. More than 80% births in our retrograde rural areas are recorded each year at home in the presence of unskilled attendants.

The unemployment rate is remarkably high in the rural areas. The unemployment gap of urban women and rural women divides the women’s demands and objectives in their women movement arena. Although it is good to know that the employment rate and the participation of women in economic activities has been increased. We need to increase our workforce by educating women to increase women empowerment. We need to build vocational training institutions as well as there should be no gender inequality in daily wages jobs.

To eradicate all these issues, we first need to educate our women which should be up to the mark so that they can understand their basic human rights. Bangladesh is an example where the GDP growth rate is high due to its high literacy rate. Neglecting half of the country’s population from the labor source could not improve the fate of our country. Health care system can only be improved by delivering transparent and accountable health policies. There should be empowerment laws to meet the current challenges of the country. Because I believe women can overcome everything that was meant to destroy her.

The writer is Director of the editorial board at the ‘The Dayspring’. He can be reached at [email protected]