The Rising Voices of Women in Pakistan
By Ahmad Amirali
If you search google for Pakistan, you might hear about bomb explosions or terrorist attacks etc. Well, this was the case five years ago. Recently, I read an article on Pakistan Cultural Heritage and the part of women in it. The author, Alice SU, creatively discusses the women’s role in Pakistani society where men once considered as a sole custodian of authority and leadership. This trend is drastically shifted since the past decades. In her article, Alice mainly engages with the context of Northern Areas of Pakistan GBC (Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral) and share her experiences of women empowerment of Hunza valley, Pakistan. Among many stories, the story which fascinated me was the marriage ceremony of a girl who belongs to the Isma’ili Shia community of Hunza valley. I like the story as Alice narrates ‘This bride is marrying for love rather than by family arrangement’. Change of mindset like these become possible when women like Rukshanda Naz raise their voices against racial and gender discrimination which was prevailing since decades in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“There are different kinds of activists among women in Pakistan. Some are secular, progressive women like Rukhshanda Naz, who was fifteen years old when she first went on a hunger strike. She was the youngest daughter of her father’s twelve children and wanted to go to an all-girls’ boarding school against his wishes. It took one day of activism to convince her father, but her family members objected again when she wanted to go to law school…Naz got her law degree, became a human rights lawyer, opened a women’s shelter in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and worked as resident director of the Aurat Foundation, one of Pakistan’s leading organisations for women’s rights.”
The whole article is linked below.