Distant dream of gender equality – 09 Mar 2023
UN Women claims that it will take at least 300 years more to achieve gender equality
As women’s day was celebrated across the world to honour and commemorate their accomplishments, there is still a long way to go in terms of fully empowering them. While strides have been made, many countries around the world, including Pakistan, have witnessed further deterioration. Even UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that global progress on women’s rights is “vanishing before our eyes”.
UN Women claims that owing to the prevailing circumstances, it will take at least 300 years more to achieve gender equality. Global economic crisis, coupled with natural disasters and wars, has created a precarious situation in which women’s rights are often abused, threatened and violated. This was also seen in the aftermath of the 2022 floods in Pakistan as affected areas witnessed a staggering increase in cases of sexual violence. In neighbouring Afghanistan, the Taliban first decided to remove girls from schools and now imposed a ban on women seeking separation or divorce. They are being forced back. Even the First World is yet to realise that women have sexual and reproductive rights as it is their body that is at risk. Then grave crimes against women such as killings, kidnappings, abductions and trafficking are equally rampant across the world with women being forced into becoming sex slaves.
Despite all the discrimination and violence that women face, governments are still reluctant to have them express their opinions through peaceful protests and marches. The recent kerfuffle of Aurat March protesters and law enforcement in Islamabad shows that patriarchy is fighting back to maintain the status quo, trying to undermine all the progress that women have made in the past few decades. Apart from creating awareness through campaigns and education, it is necessary for women and others in support of them to fight back and persevere against all odds. It will take time and sacrifice.