Gender equality

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Umar Riaz Abbasi

IN Islam woman is entitled to freedom of expression as much as man does. Woman opinions are taken into consideration and are not be disregarded just because she happens to belong to the female sex. It is reported in the Quran (in many Suras) that woman is not only expressed her opinion freely but also she argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself. The verbal sayings of the Last Prophet (PBUH) give emphasis to general treatment of women with respect, justice and kindness. Abu Hurirah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said “I commend you to be kind to women” (related by Muslim, Al Bukhari, and others) (Riyadh Al Saliheen, Hadith No. 273, p. 102). The Messenger of Allah (Mohammed) used to help his wives in their domestic work thus showing that no degradation attached to performing domestic duties of cooking, cleaning, washing, and so on. According to recent report released by the World Economic Forum Pakistan is the second worst country in the world in terms of gender parity, ranking 148 out of 149 countries in the ‘Global Gender Gap Index 2018’.
After analysis of this report and many others it is much disappointing situation that a country represent vast majority over 90 % as Muslims but very poor in Gender equality ratio. Categorized as the lowest-ranked country in South Asia, Pakistan closed 55 per cent of its overall gender gap as compared to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which were the top-ranked countries in the region, having closed just over 72pc and nearly 68pc of their overall gender gap, respectively. The Geneva-based organization’s annual report tracked disparities between the genders in 149 countries across four areas: education, health, economic opportunity and political empowerment. The report showed that there were now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation was having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women. Women, WEF observed, were significantly under-represented in growing areas of employment that require science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. It decried the particularly low participation of women within the artificial intelligence field, where they made up just 22pc of the workforce. Gender equality can be achieved only through gender inclusion. The problem is that people do talk about women inclusion but they do not understand that for that to happen, more women need to be invited to conferences, seminars etc., to make them more visible. This is one of the concrete steps that can be taken in this direction in order to increase gender equality. More inclusion in these things will mean more visibility which might eventually lead to equality.
• Findings and recommendations in the light of study that: The government of Pakistan will have to take necessary steps for Sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. • It is the need of the hour to eliminate gender discrimination as well as atrocities and social injustice with women. The country could not move the right direction of progress and prosperity unless the participation of the fifty percent population of women. • Women consists the fifty percent population of the country and it is the great opportunity for dynamic leadership of Imran Khan to create awareness among the women to play their due role for the progress and prosperity of the country. • It is also a fact that newly elected Government has made effective plans for the women development in the country, and now the skilled women would have no issue in finding jobs in every field of life. • Women representatives should play their vital role in the improvement of socio economic condition of the fifty percent population both in urban and rural parts of the country. • It is necessary for all the organizations working for betterment of women to bridge the gap in between urban and rural women to bring all women into the mainstream and make them equal participants in the society.
• Encouragement of women industrial homes, vocational training centers for women are the basic steps to be taken by the federal government to make them enable to earn their livelihood. • To ensure efforts for the promotion of constitutional protection to women. Different Governmental & Non-Governmental Organizations & groups should conduct different seminars and conferences to highlight the struggles of women. From all the discussing above, gender discrimination is obviously an urgent problem in the world. Despite the fact that its volume much decreases, it still exists and makes a lot of people suffer its consequences every day. And there are many reasons leading to gender discrimination which cannot be solved easily. However, with education and progressive thoughts of people, there are also reasons to trust in the future of gender inequality being stopped. Then, hopefully, people can live in fairness no matter what gender they are.
—The writer is well-known author and lecturer at National University of Modern Languages Islamabad.