There is a fine line between office and work. Offices are never easy and nor do they promise to be.  In our male dominating society, it’s hard for women to breathe amongst sexual predators, assaulters and misogynists.  We do stumble upon sexism and encounter it in all possible forms. Unfortunately, our counterparts are always successful to find a way to let us down and to prove their superiority.  They will make sure they don’t lose the power to control women in both places – the one at their house and workplace. They will keep a keen eye on our every move.  It’s frustrating to know that in our so called “enlightened society” in which we demand to profess equal rights, women protection bill, and liberalization – be it on the streets or the parliament – many female bread earners are affected by this in one way or another.

It was one fine day while I was working diligently, busy with sorting stuff for our new campaign to go live.  My mind was fully occupied and I could feel the tension jumping inside whooping to and fro.  I wanted the campaign to be perfect, flawless and to give me 100% conversion rate.  Targeting – check, ads- check, banner – check.  It was an elaborate list and I was making sure everything is scheduled on time until I was called.

It was an unusual call, my right eye kept blinking ridiculously making my vision flaccid.  I could sense bad omen and knew that something was about to hurl towards me.  My manager asked me to be seated and so I did, nervously.  He has always been a supportive leader rather than a boss and I respect him greatly, to the extent that I just couldn’t say no for what he would ask for.

I was directed to cover my hair with the duppatta, which usually flows around keeping a grip on my neck.  I am cognizant about my workplace, and work ethics.  In general my dressing is neither explicit nor inviting, upon hearing this I revolted and refused.


Workplace harassment exists heavily everywhere, especially in Pakistan.
Workplace harassment exists heavily everywhere, especially in Pakistan.


However, I felt I was left with no option.  Everyone seemed believe that covering my head will save me from evil eyes.  Since the ratio of men outnumber women in my office, I felt that I had to surrender my right to freedom. Ever since then, I have been under strict eyes and the feeling is deplorable. My unconscious mind is like a ticking bomb when my duppatta takes a slip.

The problem here isn’t about the duppatta, but rather the intruding thought in my head, leaving no space for my covered skin to breathe.  My right of liberty has been restricted in the name of modesty, protection and prevention.

I’m not targeting every man out there, but yes a large number in our society remains considerably narrow-minded, letting their intellectual level down to ashes.  This dogma is hard to combat since it is insidious and a part of the subconscious. This, I reckon, just comes naturally when they see women working, competing for what think is manhood – in every step of life.  So they let their wicked mind crawl through every possible way to belittle women and to nag their brains out. Workplaces in countries like Pakistan permeates sexism to a fine level which saps women persistently.  Social, cultural and religious aspects have led women not to take over the marketplace.


  • shafiz1 by Saad Hafiz

    Khan and Trump were vilified as opportunists as they exhibited an extraordinary capacity to understand what an electorate wants to hear, and an almost unrestrained readiness to say it.

  • Kamath

    Election of Sadiq Khan was as much a tribute to secularism and British parliamentary transition as it is personal triumph for Khan! London has a history of electing non-British persons to political offices. V. K. Menon was elected as a councillor in 1940s. He was from Kerala who became defence minister in Nehru’s government.

    Anyway, London has been a great world city for centuries and serving should be matter of extraordinary pride. But governing is not embassy. So let us wish Khan best of luck and may even help reduce Islamophobia accusations of some Muslim Londoners.

  • Kamath

    Correction . I meant ‘…parliamentary tradition and not transition’ and meant ‘not easy…’

  • Kamath

    There were some allegations against S. Khan for his supposedl friendship with religious elements. That what’s found to untrue. If he succeeds in his job and meeting the radicals in peace making, in London, he will go down in history as a peace maker . That is what is needed in these troubled times. I am sure he can do it!

  • Kamath

    Woman’s face is beautiful among all Allah’s creations. Why in the world any one would like to hide it from the rest of the world ? D,Les Allah wants it?
    How stupid, his followers are!

  • shafiz1

    Kamath: we wish S.Khan the best.

  • Kamath

    Read Robert Kagan’s article in Washington post. Or one that appeared in
    Toronto star.

    It is an excellent colomn and btw Kagan is a conservative himself!

  • BJK

    SJ has a legitimate beef. However, the locale for this event is unclear. If it occurred in Pakistan, perhaps the manager merely wanted to save her from more atrocious forms of attack from her less enlightened colleagues.

  • Kamath

    How about top-to-toe Burkha ? That should save her from her admirers all the time!.

  • mohanrr

    CII proposes husbands be allowed to ‘lightly beat’ defying wives

    ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has proposed its own women protection bill, recommending ‘a light beating’ for the wife if she defies the husband.

    The 20-member CII is a constitutional body which gives recommendations to parliament regarding Islamic laws. However, parliament is not bound to consider its recommendations.