Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.
Young women’s empowerment
In the modern society, a number of factors have affected the ability for women and girls to reach their full potential of female’s economic empowerment. These barriers emanate from the social and cultural backgrounds. The society has limited the realization of full potential for females with the gender stereotypes and beliefs. Girls and women are also affected by cultural norms which dictate that the males are the ones who culturally and traditionally have the decision making power and women and girls are then delegated and informed of decisions made.
The engagement with the families will touch all levels including the heads of households so that all involved are aware and in agreement with the exercise that women are seeking to engage in. From the hollow of the faraway village, rural girls came to knock on university doors for first time to start their scientific careers with enthusiasm and steely determination. Women sometimes- childcare hours, the programme will need to engage the men who are decision makers, demystifying perception and bias, perceptions of young people.
Advertising on platforms that women can access is important and success story highlighting encourages other women to participate. The women felt confident that these areas of capacity building would give them a boost when applying for and interviewing for jobs. Women self-worth and confidence to excel in other areas of their lives such as social, economic and even family life. Never give up in to weakness and devil is never tempted. Be loving to face challenges, break fear and reach the top.
Many deadly diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and cancer are among the top ten causes of mortality in Pakistan. It is estimated that almost 25% of the deaths in the country occur due to these diseases, bringing the average life expectancy of the Pakistani population to as low as 67 years. These statistics should be a wakeup call for all Pakistanis. While environmental factors such as pollution, impure water, hazardous waste and lack of sanitation undoubtedly affect health, one cannot deny people’s attitudes towards health improvement are anything but serious.
Many regard it as a nuisance to eat healthier or to eliminate bad eating habits. Oily foods, extreme spices, highly sweetened desserts and the excessive use of any ingredient promising tastier food seem to have become the ultimate goal in every household kitchen. Even a single meal cannot be consumed without a carbonated drink in hand.
Lack of awareness leads people to believe the so-called ‘health benefits’ of endorsed products in food commercials, which are nothing but marketing tactics of companies. Similarly, the promotion of various fad diets by unqualified individuals such as celebrities and social media influencers is causing people to follow diets, posing hidden threats.
The first step to eating healthier is to acknowledge our unhealthy eating patterns. However, in the end, no change can or will be brought about unless the people themselves are willing to incorporate healthy foods into their diets. It’s time to start eliminating age-old, unhealthy recipes that have been handed down through generations. Starting afresh by simply deciding to consume a single fruit a day can be a huge step towards leading a healthier life.
Protect our children
A large proportion of Pakistani children live in unsafe and dangerous conditions. Nearly 23 million children in the country are out of school, which means that they are not only deprived of their right to education but also are faced with higher risks of child labour and early marriages. At least 3.3 million Pakistani children are involved in agricultural, factory, domestic and other forms of work. This is not only worsening literacy rates in the country but will affect the country’s potential, growth and progress in the long term. Most children are unable to escape poverty and improve their prospects due to an absence of accessible educational and rehabilitation facilities.
Girls and boys as young as 14 are married off due to conservative cultural values, poverty, etc. Given that most child brides have little to no education, they are forced to stay in violent and abusive relationships. They are faced with serious health risks during childbirth and some are compelled to work as well as perform household chores. All of this is mentally, emotionally and physically taxing for them. Resultantly, they struggle with the good upbringing of their children which can often lead to generational poverty and illiteracy.
The high rates of child labour and child marriage in Pakistan show that as a society we have failed our children. The government and the public have turned a blind eye to the plight of millions of children in the country who face a threat to their health and wellbeing. The relevant authorities should ensure strict implementation of laws prohibiting child labour and child marriage. All children should be enrolled in schools and facilitated with financial assistance and support.