Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan states that women are equal citizens of Pakistan and have the right to full participation in national life. Although, women are not a minority in Pakistan, as far as numbers are concerned, however, they face greater problems as compared to men. This is due to the behavior and attitudes of society in general, which are based on backward and discriminatory concepts regarding women. There is a need to create awareness about the rights of women as equal citizens of Pakistan.
Women in Politics
The Constitution and the law of Pakistan protect the political rights of women. The law is, however, not implemented in its true spirit, which has created an environment where women are still marginalized in various aspects of political participation. Although their participation is increasing, their presence in political parties as decision makers is very rare. Women lack financial resources and mentoring which makes it harder for their full participation, in comparison to their male counterparts, in the electoral process. International and domestic commitments made by the Government of Pakistan necessitate that a favorable environment be created for women’s participation in politics, both as candidates and voters.
Violence Against Women
Violence against women (VAW) is a global phenomenon, which cuts across class and income groups. In Pakistan VAW incidents include: verbal abuse, beating, sexual harassment, underage and forced marriages, trafficking, forced prostitution, honor killings, acid attacks, stove burning, and bartering of girls to settle tribal disputes. Despite women’s concerns about the situation, they tend to suffer in silence, mostly to avoid the breakdown of family relationships, and because of their dependent status, due to a lack of support systems.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Equal pay for equal work or pay equity refers to the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value. Although it is a fundamental right enshrined in the International Labor Organization’s Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100), pay equity has remained largely unattained and women around the world continue to face pay discrimination (ILO, 2008). Pakistan ratified the Equal Remuneration Convention in 2001, and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) in 1961. Pakistan has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which asserts the right to equal remuneration for work of equal value. However, despite these commitments, women in Pakistan still face pay discrimination.
The economic empowerment of women is globally recognized as essential for the progress of a nation and the growth of its economy. According to UN Women, investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home.
Gender stereotypes are generalizations about the roles of men and women. They are inaccurate and simplistic attributes assigned to each gender, not taking into consideration that each individual is different, regardless of gender. In other words, stereotypes are assumptions based on gender. A couple of examples of common stereotypes are, assuming that women are not politicians or that all men love sports. Entertainment and news media have a huge role to play in how women and men are portrayed in society. They have an effect on cultural ideas of beauty and the role of women. These stereotypes influence the social development of women, especially when they are portrayed as objects or victims. There is a pressure on women to have perfect bodies and perfect personalities. Thus, media shapes unrealistic expectations about women, in the minds of the general public.