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Bridging the Gap: Women's Rights and Education in Pakistan

Regrettably, women's rights have often been eclipsed by male dominance in various spheres of life, despite some acknowledging the importance of granting women their due rights.

by Sadia Bibi - 01 May, 2024 1743
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When discussing women's rights, it's often highlighted that Islam granted women privileges unprecedented in the societies of its time, 1400 years ago.

While Islam indeed bestowed rights upon women, the pressing question remains: does our society truly honor and uphold these rights? Do women enjoy equal footing with men in our social hierarchy, particularly concerning matters like marriage, inheritance, education, social status, and employment?

Regrettably, women's rights have often been eclipsed by male dominance in various spheres of life, despite some acknowledging the importance of granting women their due rights.

A recent incident at the hospital underscored this discrepancy vividly. While seeking medical attention for my ailing health, a scene unfolded near the theater that left bystanders and me dumbfounded. An altercation ensued between a doctor and a young man, revolving around the delivery of the latter's wife. The husband adamantly insisted on a female doctor for the operation, refusing any male intervention.

Despite the doctor's plea, citing the unavailability of a female physician due to prior engagements, the husband remained obstinate. The doctor's exasperation boiled over as he rebuked the husband sternly.

In a moment of righteous indignation, the doctor posed a poignant question: "Do you have daughters?" To which, the husband reluctantly admitted to having three. When asked about their education, the husband sheepishly confessed, "We are Pathans; we don't educate our daughters."

The doctor's response was as profound as it was scathing. He questioned the rationale behind demanding a female doctor when they failed to educate their daughters. He emphasized that these daughters, too, could aspire to become doctors if provided with education.

The chastened husband, realizing his oversight, implored the doctor to proceed with the operation promptly, realizing the gravity of the situation.

Witnessing this exchange, I found solace in the fact that some individuals still prioritize the education of their daughters in today's society. However, Pakistan grapples with numerous challenges hindering girls' education. Poverty, regrettably, bars many parents from affording their daughters' education, perpetuating a cycle of inequality.

Moreover, antiquated mindsets deem education unnecessary for girls, perpetuating gender disparities. Social stigmas and early marriages further impede girls' access to education, exacerbating the issue.

To combat these obstacles, systemic changes are imperative. The government must prioritize free education, especially up to intermediate levels, ensuring equitable access for all children, irrespective of gender.

Simultaneously, parents must champion their daughters' education, fostering a culture of trust and support. By empowering women through education and rights, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and progressive society, where every girl has the opportunity to thrive.