Solutions to the Gender Discrimination: A Change through Ideology and Policy

Raafia Gul Sharif

7/5/2020

 

Article 25 section 2 in the Constitution of Pakistan clearly mentions, “There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex” thus giving women the right in all aspects of thier lives, but it is a much different story socially and culturally. Patriarchy is embedded within the cultures of Pakistan, and through that gender discrimination is common in every aspect of women’s life. Traditional mindsets and beliefs are already in practice and are considered social norms. The sociology in Pakistani society is greatly divided amongst genders, that one might unconsciously discriminate against the other sex. Gender discrimination is a global phenomenon, and it is essential to address it in Pakistan and to seek solutions that could help implement the policies, and change the mindset to achieve equity within the social structure.

 

Aamirah Nyazee who has been employed in the development and corporate sectors for twenty years, founder of Center for Research in Education and Development Pakistan (CREDP), and the Youtube channel Stars In Her Eyes, partook in sharing her ideas in the policy making and implementation in this article. It is crucial in society and the duty of a government and its people to work equally on changing the oppressive mindset and policies, because one cannot work without another. Aamirah mentions that it is important for policy makers to accept gender discrimination as a social issue in Pakistan, and “be sensatized” as well as “tak[ing] ownership of this responsibility” so that those ideas can be conveyed into policies. When introducing policies, the characteristics of policies are much pivotal in understanding the process of implementing it. It should be goal-orientated and structured that are realistically tailored for the sociology of Pakistan, and avoid duplicating a policy from another country. A policy is erred if it creates a divide within a society, that is why inclusiveness is the key to a relevancy.

 

Approach to education and awareness tends to work in changing the mindset of the generations. Teachers, parents, political leaders and other authority that impacts the society must be trained with the partnership of government and non-government sectors. Apart from the society taking a stand on this social issue, the change is only crucial if women take a stand for themselves. Nyazee emphasized that in order for a behavioral change, women must have a purpose in their lives, and must have constant persistence to their values. In any phase of life, women should never give in easily for the patriarchy, and must fight for what they wish for. In other words, women must recognize themselves as an equal to men and demand for equality of gender to make themselves visible in society as citizens.

 

Feminism has become a provocative issue in Pakistan after Aurat March 2020, to which Adnan Malik observed that fighting for women rights means to provoke the patriarchal norms of the Pakistani society. The actor, director and producer has been active in Pakistan’s media industry for a decade and half, and is recognized nationally and internationally for his work. Adnan discussed that he grew up around strong female role models who helped shape up his views on gender equality. Women issues in Pakistan, and their sexuality is considered a taboo, and are easily ignored and usurped by the patriarchal stance.

 

Female portrayal in the media also affects the society’s ideology on how they see a woman. In a gendered-gap society there are two extreme portrayals of women, one consider a goddess or mother-like figure, another instance, as a whore. Media could help in lessening the gender-gap by ending gender stereotypes, portraying women with visibility of their talents, playing in-depth and emotional yet headstrong characters. As Nyazee said in one of her videos called Portrayal of Women in the Media, “the media can do a much better job portraying women in sports, education, and parliament”. Furthermore, As being an ally to the movement, Malik said, “my advocacy for gender equality comes from personal experience which I incorporate in my work”. In Pakistan, non-profit organizations, research centers, government and non-governmental organizations, and influencers are working on gender equality, but considering discrimination is a growing discrete variable, constant efforts must be put into it.

 

In conclusion, these solutions would not work without the kinship between genders. As much as women in Pakistan want their rights it cannot be achieved through the support of men. This fight is not of people but of ideologies, and one mindset can overcome another only when there is a continuous societal progression and structural change. To produce forceful impact they must receive equal representation in the government and corporate sectors to have the power of decision making. Additionally, women do not need a validation from society to make their place, it has already been made through millennia as women are shoulder-to-shoulder with men known to be the survival of the fittest.