A world without women is, from whichever angle you chose to look at it, a complete impossibility as – and this is not a ‘Women’s Liberation’ rant – if one is brave enough to examine life through the lens of a microscope, it is apparent that it is women who do all the hard work of ensuring that the world, as we currently known it, continues to go around. To stop women is to bring the world to a grinding halt and a very nasty halt at that!
Yet, especially here in Pakistan and a number of other countries in this part of the world, women are, generally speaking, treated as if they are something to be used and abused at will. And, if they are gutsy enough to raise their voices against what is, unfortunately for many, ingrained subservience to men, they are branded as socially dangerous, subversive whores and worse.
This is not to say that women in other parts of the world have it any easier as, in the majority of countries, they most certainly do not as, although they may, in rare cases, have achieved rights such as equal pay for equal work. They still have, after a hard days grind, to return home and attend to children, if they have them, and domestic chores et al. While the man in their life simply, more often than not, simply sits down, puts his feet up and expects to be waited on hand and foot. And, on top of this, despite his wife’s obviously crippling workload, also expects freshly laundered and meticulously pressed clothes laid out in readiness for his departure to work the following morning.
This situation though is, when it comes down to the basic nitty-gritty of life, the fault of generations of not men, but women themselves as they have, over hundreds of years, allowed the current situation to develop to the detriment of themselves. If they don’t like it now – many don’t – all they have to do is look in the mirror to see the reason why: Women have, with few exceptions, drifted in to slavery to men as if it is the only available option they have and, by doing so, have made female slavery the sole, societally acceptable option. And any woman, as previously mentioned, who dares to stand up, dares to or has too, hold her own in the world of men has an extremely difficult time of it indeed.
It is interesting to note how, in U.K. for instance – a country which many Pakistanis view as one bursting at the seams with freedom for all, irrespective of gender – is now blaming mothers for malnourished children, for their off-springs truancy from schools and for increasing violence in everyday life. While there is a basis of truth in this, the way it is being handled by government spokespeople and a media who should know better, is horrendous. True that many young women have no idea how to prepare a nutritious meal from scratch. Thanks to the advent of fast food in all its guises and, more importantly, to the honest truth that even if they knew how to cook, they simply do not have either the money or the time to do so. This a result of governmental decrees, both husband and wife need to work out to try, in vain, to keep the collective family members housed and fed something or other according to what rabid inflation allows them to buy. Blaming women rather than the U.K. government is ludicrous.
Here in Pakistan where our apology for a government doesn’t appear to be the least bit concerned that approximately 68% and rising daily, of the population exist below the poverty line and doesn’t give a single damn how a family, let alone a woman, manages to survive but does, in so many different noxious ways, throw more and more women to the wolves each and every single day. And, on the whole and even though women make up the vast majority of the agricultural workforce – agriculture always having been the country’s economic backbone – women feel as if there is nothing they can do except suffer and then suffer some more and pray that their circumstances will, miraculously, change but, sadly, it rarely works this way.
‘Illiterate’ women – I refuse to call them ‘uneducated’ as, even though they may not be able to read and write they have a far broader education when it comes to survival than their so-called ‘Literate’ counterparts. They are not, obviously, able to make use of the internet although, mark my words, one day they will, but women who can – and do – use the world wide net to do things other than gossip and pass fatuous remarks that do nothing more than underline their arrogant ignorance, are finally beginning to realize that the power to change the world they live in, whichever part of the globe this happens to be, really does lie – not with prancing male politicians – but with the female gender as a whole. And, slowly but surely, these women are connecting with likeminded women and working together for a change in circumstances for all.
They are working on poverty relief, in educating their ‘sisters’ as to actual realities as against media gossip, working to improve the lot of women everywhere and, most importantly of all, teaching each other to dare to stand up and speak out as the women, strong, forceful women, they are finally realizing that they are.
Watch out world – the women are coming back in to their own!
The writer has authored two books titled The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War, The Parwan Wind - Dust Motes and lives in Bhurban.