By Sameer Umrani
February 11,is annually celebrated as international day for women in science under the sponsorship of the United Nations (UN). The reason for this day is to appreciate all women who have contributed and enlighten themselves in the field of science by inventing easeful equipments.
The role of women in science is not hidden from anyone ,they have invented tens of thousands of inventions such as Electrical Refrigerator (by Florence Parpart), Modern Medical Syringe (by letitia Geer), Wireless Transmission Technology (Hedy Lamarr), cctv camera(Marie Van Brittan Brown) and much more This shows the importance of women’s presence in science and technology.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan February 11 means nothing. we show zero interest on this day for women. Majority of us considered women to be a housewife nothing else.It is hard to make someone believe that women are their own beings ,have their own choices, desires and dreams etc.It is heartwrenching to pen it down down from education to marriage women has no authority to speak up a single word in most of regions in Pakistan. They are the male members or siblings to select or reject someone for her.
However, the life of women suffered from different challenges in every walk of life in Pakistan from shopping to work places they are vulnerable from male genders. some major challenges are domestic violence, Honour killing, force marriage, abduction, and induced abortions. The Global Gender Gap Index 2020 reports ranked Pakistan at 151 out of total 153 countries, it’s mean we are standing 3rd most vulnerable countries for women. Worldwide more than 1000 women and girls are murdered in the name of honour every year and nearly 90% suffered from domestic violence.This leads Pakistan to be sorry state for women and girls.
The sole solution to overcome this curse is education by education the be in empower which leads them to get their rights. It is worthy considering except education all roads that leads towards the achievement of their goals are full of disappointment and perturbation.
Additionally, Government has fulfilled its obligation of education for girls by Article 25-A of the constitution which indicates for free education from grade 5 to master’s degree.But still the literary rate is just 46.7%.
There are several reasons for this, all interconnect, while education and textbooks are free of cost but there are remaining expenses such as admission fees, school bag, uniform, shoes, stationaries etc.The second issue is transportation.School are often at far distance (mostly in Balochistan and KPK) parents may not afford vehicle to pick and drop their children.
Furthermore,vast majority of public schools in Pakistan are at primary levels, secondary schools are at even greater distance therefore literacy rate drops 10% to 20% annually when they reached in secondary schools. Worthy to mention, on secondary level they hit puberty or begins to look mature that’s why fear for harassment and abduction rises in one’s mind.
More broadly, it will be silver lining for women if we pay vigorous heed on their education that they be empowered and remove all quagmires such as violence, forced marriage and etc by themselves. Government too should ensure for their safety in educational institutions.Hence they know their every right in society.
There are tens of thousands of living and nonliving examples of women who have contributed a master-piece in their concerned fields. Malala Yousuf Zai (Nobel prize Holder), Kulsoom Fatima (First station House officer in female),Fatma Jinnah and Benazir Butto etc are the source of motivation for thousands of people.
lastly I appeal to the government to preserved or fix a percentage of Quota for women in every Government sectors,may be they come up with strong ambitions on high level and bring be the part of developing Pakistan which is under crossroads of development.
The writer is a freelancer based in Karachi