Pakistan has little to boast of about women’s emancipation and gender parity in almost all walks of life. Women are not provided with equal opportunities in any sphere of life. They suffer at the hands of male chauvinists who consider them inferior. Amid this doom and gloom, the opening of the first female-run police station in Rawalakot, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is all but welcoming development. Initially, an eleven member team led by a lady station house officer has been deputed to run the station and investigate complaints about harassment of women at workplaces or educational institutions, cyber stalking, child abuse, domestic issues (mainly violence), civil issues including property disputes as well as cases in which females will be the accused.
The development can easily be termed as a step towards ending the disparity of equal rights and ensure women’s emancipation in the society. So far, Pakistan has arguably failed to ensure gender parity and millions of women are still struggling for their rights and fighting the male oppression. In our country, many women are treated unjustly and kept deprived of their rights. Figures about women’s participation in any field of life are very disappointing. From employment opportunities to their role in parliament, women do not enjoy equality compared to men. Besides, the social evils of honour killing, sexual and domestic violence against women, harassment at workplaces, acid attacks etc are still common. Though the Punjab Assembly has unanimously passed the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill, yet it has met with severe criticism from mainstream religious parties. We need to welcome the legislation for women’s rights, instead of criticising such moves.
However, there are some success stories of Pakistani women, who have earned laurels for the country. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who won the Oscar for her documentary on honour killing, and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, give some hope that one day, women will enjoy a respectable position and an equal status in Pakistani society. Pakistan cannot achieve real progress, unless, we acknowledge the profound debt that we owe to the vast majority of women for their outstanding contributions to the prosperity and good image of our country.