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18 February 2020

Society Develops When We Treat Both Men and Women Equally

Shahbaz Khan
The writer is a graduate of PNEC-NUST. He hails from Ishkomen Ghizar.

Female is the second pair of wheels of the vehicle which carries the society forward on the road towards progress and development with a pace fast enough to develop the society as per demand of the time. A defected pair very often causes accidents which sometimes proved to be fatal. So, in order to push the society forward, we need to make sure that both the pairs of the wheels are in the sound condition.
   A society is said to be developed if the female class is educated. Lap of the mother is considered to be the first institution where a child is given the very basic education about society, culture, religion and social norms. When he comes out of the home for the first time to interact with the society, he perceives the society as per the teachings he has received at his home. So, the way he is brought up and guided by the family has a magnanimous and everlasting effect on his personality.In a family, the responsibility to develop and look after the children lies more on a mother than a father. An educated mother better knows how to make sure the development of her children as per demand of the modern society. She knows how to bring them up, to make them a responsible, optimistic and progress oriented member of the society. She senses well, the challenges waiting ahead for her children in the future. An educated mother infuses in the mind of her children, a constructive and progressive approach towards life.
   Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah the Aga Khan 3rd says “if you have two children, a daughter and a son and your financial status allows you to educate only one child, then you must educate your daughter because when you educate a male you educate a single person and when you educate a female you educate a family.”Unfortunately the male dominant society in Pakistan has never been so conducive and supportive towards women when it comes to right to education, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of choice and right to decide their future. If any female dares to go against the so called primitive norms of the society she is discouraged and pushed back into the four walls of the house. The society forces her to mold her life as per the demand of the society. They are treated as if they are a sub class of human being. Their way of life is predetermined by the society and they are supposed to carry on the journey of life on a narrow path full of obstacles and challenges. They are always second to men. Religious extremism together with the outdated and under-educated societies has made the country hostile towards them. Forced early marriages, exploding schools educating girls and exchanging daughters for paying debts and resolving disputes among tribes are few such examples which prove how much life of a female is vulnerable and dependent on others. She does not have the courage and determination to pursue her dreams which eventually die out. The society has confined her so much that she even fears to think independently.
   Hence the second pair of wheels is defective and its impact on the country is visible and crystal clear to feel and understand. Low literacy rate, high rates of social crimes, exploitation of children by religious extremists through brain washing to use them for terrorist attacks, child labour, high rate of population growth, lack of health awareness, poverty, suicides among females and underprivileged family life style are some of the fatal and devastating impacts which have tracked the country off the road of progress, stability, peace and prosperity.
   It’s time to repair the defective pair of wheels in order to reform the society.  We need to think beyond the so-called cultural and religious norms.  The true teachings of Islam have always directed the human being to ensure the balance in every walk of life to maintain balance in the society. They always safeguard the very basic rights of females and encourage men to treat them as per the teachings of Islam. So, we need to safeguard their rights and facilitate them to acquire quality education. Government needs to take bold steps to promote female education and safeguard their rights. Society needs to realize the due role of females in its progress.  Families need to treat sons and daughters equally. Eminent and enlightened religious scholars need to speak out in favor of them. Instead of discouraging and promoting negative propaganda, political leadership and civil society must support and encourage such females who can compete with the challenges and come up which such achievements which are worth appreciating. Media must play its due role in highlighting the issues of females. Last but not least, everyone needs to know that prosperity progress, peace and stability in Pakistan are possible only when the female population is treated equally, if not on priority basis. Developing the society is not an overnight process. It’s an evolutionary process and will take time. Let’s join hands to promote female education.
   Together, we can make a difference.