International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day

Regardless of whether a nation is developed or emerging, the advancement of women is vital to the development process. The participation of women in the race by countries to become sophisticated economies, such as those of the USA, China, Turkey, Malaysia, the UK, and European nations, has been extraordinary, according to historical and contemporary figures. Dulfo (2012) elucidated that women’s empowerment and a nation’s growth are inextricably linked; hence, the relevant authorities must ensure gender parity in the economic development process through cleverly calculated strategic measures and policies. The 2013 IMF study noted that women were more productive and did their work more effectively when their abilities were used on an equal footing with those of males.

According to World Bank data from 2018, Pakistan’s female population was 48.54 percent, indicating a sizeable demographic presence. According to Digital Portal, the number of women has increased significantly over time, from 31.1 million in 1974 to 119 million in 2023, making it up to 49.6 percent of the entire population. Women between the ages of 15 and 25 have a literacy rate of 65 percent, but their employment rate is just 20.65 percent, which emphasises the need for changes in this area.

In line with the UNFPA, Pakistan’s Vision 2025 highlights five aspects of women’s empowerment: their rights, choices, opportunities, and impact on social change. Pakistani women have significantly advanced in a variety of sectors, including sports, journalism, entrepreneurship, politics, the military and bureaucracy. They have also made significant contributions to the growth of their country. Pakistan is one of the Muslim world’s leading nations in terms of women’s political engagement, with designated seats for women in the National Assembly and a noteworthy 22 percent representation. In addition, women have achieved notable positions in the armed forces and gained international acclaim for their vital contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

Pakistani women have had a significant worldwide effect in the fields of the arts, exploration, and law, among other fields, demonstrating their achievements that transcend national boundaries. As the Lahore High Court’s decision highlights, it is imperative to strike a balance between social norms and women’s rights activities, such as the Aurat March, even as we celebrate these accomplishments. Only then can we ensure a civil and fruitful discourse in support of further advancements.

It is also imperative to take a view of our Eastern neighbor India where women have been mostly confronted with challenges peculiar to a male chauvinist society. Even while they worship and glorify Durga, Saraswati, Parvati, and Kali, mistreatment of women by engaging in child marriage, female infanticide, Sati, sexual harassment, dower, and other practices is a common norm.

Even though India has ratified the UN and UNHRC, it routinely withholds information about atrocities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and refuses to allow UNHRC investigators access. Discrimination against widows continues, notwithstanding the United Nations Convention on Discrimination Against Women. The increasing crimes in India necessitate a quick stop in order to avert a regional disaster. Pakistan persists in advocating for the rights of the Kashmiri people on global forums, underscoring the pressing need to tackle these breaches of human rights particularly against womenfolk.

Over the past few millennia, there have been numerous significant changes to the position of women in India. The history of women in India has been dynamic, ranging from their mostly unknown status in prehistoric times through the low periods of the mediaeval era to the widespread reformers’ championing of equal rights.

There have been changes in women’s standing over time. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has determined that India is the world’s most unsafe country for women. Two of the biggest worries mentioned by experts are forced slave labour and the high danger of sexual assault. The abortion of female foetuses and the death of infant girls are the main causes of the skewed sex ratio, which also exists in conjunction with prejudice, violence against women, and discrimination against women.

India is also criticised for unresolved issues including sexual assault, marital rape, and the approximately 8000 women who die each year from dowry-related causes. When it comes to destructive practices like forced marriage and female infanticide, as well as human trafficking, the nation leads the rankings. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show a concerning number of rapes that have been recorded, with a 4 percent rise in crimes against women between 2021 and 2022. India’s questionable claim to be the worst G20 nation for women is highlighted by Trust Law, a Thomson Reuters service, underscoring the pressing need for social reform.

Allegations of horrific sexual assault against 150 women troops are made against male military colleagues in IIOJK, who are protected by official authority. The Indian government is purportedly concealing these allegations. 1,224 women are alleged to have been sexually assaulted by Indian security services between 1989 and 2020.

The Modi administration is under fire for breaking international law by using rape as a “weapon of war” and “collective punishment.” In distant communities, there has been an increase in rape incidents after Article 370 was repealed. The emergence of searches such as “Marry a Kashmiri Girl” and misogynistic comments made by Indian politicians highlight a worrying pattern. An alarming fact was revealed in a webinar hosted by the UN Human Rights Council: 36 percent of IIOJK women between the ages of 15 and 70 experience anxiety disorders.

Even though India has ratified the UN and UNHRC, it routinely withholds information about atrocities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and refuses to allow UNHRC investigators access. Discrimination against widows continues, notwithstanding the United Nations Convention on Discrimination Against Women. The increasing crimes in India necessitate a quick stop in order to avert a regional disaster. Pakistan persists in advocating for the rights of the Kashmiri people on global forums, underscoring the pressing need to tackle these breaches of human rights particularly against womenfolk.

Omay Aimen
Omay Aimen
The author frequently contributes on issues concerning national and regional security, focusing on matters having critical impact in these milieus. She can be reached [email protected]

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