For the first time in Pakistan, a woman MPA is all set to become chief of Sindh’s Soho tribe. Heer Ismail Soho, a lawmaker at the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, is going to win the honour of becoming a new chief of the Soho tribe, which is spread across Sindh. A change in perception about women’s role in society and rigid mindset is taking shape and this is going to happen in one of the most backward areas of the country. This change needs to be welcomed. Sindh is a place where tribalism is rampant and it is more challenging for a woman to break the tradition of becoming the chief of a tribe. Undoubtedly, becoming a head of a major clan for a woman is a great honour. It is in fact a silver lining among examples of violations of women’s rights. The issues of education, equal employment and business opportunities for females prevail in most of the Sindh and Punjab areas. Even in this age, women are considered lower compared to men by a certain class of male chauvinists. Besides, violation of rights, women have to face savagery in the form of honour killings, forced conversions and domestic violence. In this scenario, Soho can act as a torchbearer by playing her role in ending discrimination against women. On its part, the government needs to encourage such a change in society and patronize Soho in tackling the main problems of her community.
Ever since the creation of Pakistan, women have played a considerable role in the development of society. Broadly categorised, women in Pakistan can be classified as housewives and working women. The role of women, in general, varies with class, rural-urban divide and region. Despite rising awareness, women, in general, have been subject to misogyny at some point in their life. For a progressive and prosperous Pakistan, it is essential that a general perception of society should be changed that considers women as subordinates to men. From Fatima Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousafzai, women represent a change in the socio-political dynamics of Pakistan. Let us not forget what Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan had said, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.” It is therefore time for the state should take all the necessary steps to ensure gender parity and women’s empowerment.