Gender inequality

Gender equality situation in the country is a nightmare. What is making it worse is the general perception that gender disparity refers only to the dismal condition of women’s rights in society. Ask any ordinary person what the phrase ‘gender inequality/disparity’ means, and the answer would be about a ‘wrong’ committed to some woman or the female gender at large being deprived of basic rights in a patriarchal society.
No one takes a pause for a moment to acknowledge that the term also encapsulates the other gender as well. There is no denying the fact that women, especially of middle and lower classes, are underprivileged and vulnerable to gender-based violence in the country. But there is no dearth of men who share the same fate.
However, to bridge the gap in gender disparity in the country, those who are sensitive to gender inequalities have resorted to promote women’s rights by encouraging women to take part in public life.
Such encouragement comes often through job advertisements wherein it is mentioned that females will be ‘given priority’ in the recruitment process, or they are ‘encouraged to apply’. A case in point is the recent job advertisement from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) [PID(1)8445/21] that called for walk-in interviews against a few contract-based vacancies. The interviews were supposed to be held on June 12 at Nadra’s regional head office in Hayatabad, Peshawar.
In the advertisement, among all the routine and relevant information, it was stressed that females and transgender people would be given special preference during the recruitment process. Certainly, it was a bid to encourage the two communities to aim for economic independence in society. Obviously, the attempt was a vibrant gesture and viewed as a progressive step forward towards gender equality. Other institutions, both public and private, do the same with the same intention. However, has anyone pondered that giving priority to a specific gender or class over the other does not bring fruition to the notion of gender equality? It rather adds to gender inequality and works against the very notion of merit.
Such an approach scoffs at the spirit of the Constitution, whose Article 27 says: “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth”. Meritocracy is one of the indispensable elements of good governance and when it is not maintained, good governance hardly takes root in a society. Competent human resource is always instrumental for the progress of an organisation, and that has nothing to do with gender politics. Any special favour to any gender only disturbs the social balance and the quality of governance.
Abbas Ali Qureshi

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