Women in today’s Sindh, particularly, in the rural areas, are socially and economically handicapped. They are deprived of equal participation in the socio-economic activities of the province. The Constitution of Pakistan has taken a long leap in the direction of eradicating the lingering effects of such adverse forces as far as women are concerned. It recognizes women as a class by itself and permits enactment of laws and reservations favoring them. A number of articles in this historic Constitution make express provision for affirmative action in favor of womenfolk. It prohibits all types of discrimination against women and lays a criterion for securing equal opportunity to women in all walks of life, including education, employment and participation.
In spite of all these developments, the truth remains that widespread violations of women’s rights continues to persist in the country, especially, in the remote and rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan. The forces of globalization and extremism and the unwillingness of other segments of society continue to pose a threat to women’s rights. Structural inequalities and power imbalances facilitates such violations. Urge for easy money, at times greed, facilitating a life full of comforts, possibly luxury, has in the recent few years - during the PPP-led coalition government- made Sindhi rural women more susceptible to exploitation and violence. But where is the government, where are the relevant public sector organizations such as Commission on the status of women and provincial women welfare, social welfare and human rights departments? Unfortunately, all these relevant organizations have done nothing to alleviate women’s miseries and elevate their socioeconomic status in the province.
Islamabad, December 03