“No nation can rise to the heights of glory until your women are side by side with you.”
– Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Women empowerment means creating such an environment for women where they can take their own decisions, for their personal benefits as well as for the society. Female empowerment is one of the main issues in today’s world, especially in a country like Pakistan which has a mainly patriarchal society. Despite all the difficulties faced by women in Pakistan, such as sexism and misogyny, women such as Fatima Jinnah and Malala Yousafzai have greatly contributed for their country and represent the socio-political dynamics of the country.
Since almost half of the total population (according to the 2011 population census) represents women of working age, giving job opportunities to them would ensure speedy development of the country. Educated women also tend to marry at a later age and this could lead to better choices in family planning and could thus help control population growth. Such established women can also contribute towards reducing poverty as they could be able to support their families financially, thus reducing overall crime rate as well. Educated and empowered women are also more aware of the benefits of receiving an education, so not only could this help in promoting education within the country, but these educated women could also ensure that their children understand the importance of higher education and turn out to be responsible citizens.
Women empowerment could greatly contribute towards national development since women have already been making their nation proud through their outstanding performances in almost every sphere, including medical sciences, social sciences, engineering, etc. To name a few, Arfa Karim, the youngest Microsoft engineer of Pakistan and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Oscar winning director from Pakistan, have made the country proud.
Female empowerment denotes bringing women at par with men, to which there are many critics as well. When preaching total equality, gender identity is often ignored. There are differences – not limited to biological ones – between men and women that should not be blanked by extreme equality measures. These differences should be embraced and optimized rather than being masked.
Some critics also consider women empowerment as the reason for increasing divorce rates, since the empowerment creates individualism and self-dependence. However the benefits of female empowerment can never be ignored. If women are properly guided and given equal opportunities as men, they can greatly contribute towards the social and political development of our country. So it is time that our state and society take measures to ensure gender parity and women empowerment.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any other organization with which she might be associated.