By Farah Ehsan
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will” — Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
On 8th March, International Women’s Day is celebrated on a wide scale—throughout the world and wherever women exist; for we exist everywhere because it is “us” who are the reason of existence of the world! We celebrate every woman because life would not have been possible without us.
These days we celebrate it by posting statuses on social media (the easiest way to raise your voice). Many of us are “Danishwar” at social media, but in real life limited to the responsibility of throw the garbage please… Anyways…Do we really want to see the difference from past – present – future? If yes, we need to work hard for ourselves. We need to raise our sons with the sense of respect for their female counterparts. We need to make them realise that women are as normal, as brilliant, as able and as sparkling as their male counterparts.
I believe every day is OUR day, for we strive, we push ourselves, we nurture, we care, we love, we raise family, we sacrifice, we bring smiles, we wipe tears, we cook, we clean, we change diapers, we lose sleep, we endure physical changes. But why? To be taken for granted? — don’t get angry …every woman has to do this. It is a routine matter. Nothing special. Done by every female across the globe. Come-on!
Another tragedy, the fantasizing of women as a commodity—she can only be the beloved as depicted in romantic poetry. For God’s sake, Allah has not created us for your fantasies only!
Discrimination is not limited to daily chores. We’re not getting equal pay at workplaces despite the equal amount of work. We’ve come a long way from the days of explicit denial of entry to women in government institutions. But it’s not enough. It doesn’t allow us to realize our full potential. It’s been said that 99 more years are required to close the global gender gap. How revolting!
What is Feminism? Feminists are the parents who give their daughter and son the same chances. I want my daughter to realise that she too can reach wherever she wants, but hard work and firm belief in herself is a must.
In Pakistan we have a long list of females who have achieved beyond their means. Starting from Fatima Jinnah with a never-ending list of the strong females who served in each and every battleground of life and proved that you can’t push us back just on the pretence of ‘Sinf e Nazuk’.
I might not be able to write all the names here; but would definitely discus few:
Benazir Bhutto rose with a slogan of democracy and peace. The Iron lady of Pakistan, the first Asian woman elected head of the Oxford Union, the first lady to become the head of a political party and the first ever female Prime Minister and Head of an Islamic state. Her struggle continued till Shahadat. During her tenures she managed to develop female job quota, women police station and the first women’s bank. Afterwards, her party managed to pass the harassment bill and initiated Benazir Income Support Programme.
Asma Jahangir, the Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She was known for her prominent role in the lawyers’ movement and served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and as a trustee at the International Crisis Group. She was not afraid to speak loudly against those attacking minority religions and women. She won scores of international awards.
Malala Yousafzai, known globally as the youngest women’s rights activist. The youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly on her birthday July 12, 2013—designated by the UNO as “Malala Day”. She continues to serve Pakistan and the whole world through establishment of schools through the Malala Fund.
Dr. Ruth Pfau, a German-Pakistani physician who travelled to Pakistan and dedicated fifty years of her life trying to combat leprosy in Pakistan. Known as “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa”, Pfau contributed in establishing 157 leprosy clinics across Pakistan. She was awarded the Stauffer Medal, the highest award of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
Today, we celebrate our achievements, and our weaknesses. Be yourself. Remember that you are an integral part of any society, and must be accorded your deserved dignity. Keep shinning. One day the world will recognise you with whatever the best you have done to the world!