News / Asia

Violence, Discrimination Against Women Rises in Pakistan

Women hold lighted candles during a rally condemning the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, in Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.Women hold lighted candles during a rally condemning the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, in Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.
x
Women hold lighted candles during a rally condemning the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, in Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.
Women hold lighted candles during a rally condemning the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, in Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.
Sharon Behn
A local women's rights group in Pakistan says the number of incidents of violence against women in Pakistan has increased at least seven percent over the past year. The impact of violent gender discrimination is being deeply felt in a number of ways in Pakistan.
 
Thousands of women are kidnapped, murdered and raped in Pakistan every year, says Pakistan’s Aurat Foundation, a group that monitors media reports for acts of violence against women.
 
According to Aurat’s latest report, Pakistan’s infrastructure problems and ineffective justice system, together with age-old cultural practices, means that violence against women is not being addressed.

Domestic violence left unchecked

In recent years the government has instituted regulations protecting women’s rights. But there are no laws criminalizing domestic violence, says Aurat director Naeem Mirza, and laws against honor killings and other forms of gender violence are not being not addressed forcefully enough.
 
“Despite some efforts by a few voices from civil society organizations and parliamentarians there is no, as I said earlier, no serious attempt by the authorities, by the government to stop it,” said Mirza.
 
Gender Studies professor and human rights advocate Farzana Bari says violence is just one facet of gender discrimination in Pakistan. She says discrimination exists in all sectors, from education to business.
 
For example, programs like micro-loans aimed at helping women in Pakistan appear to be missing their target. A recent World Bank statement notes that between 50 to 70 percent of microfinance loans to women in Pakistan may actually be used by their male relatives.

Devastating impact on future generations

According to the Global Gender Gap report released this week by the Global Economic Forum, Pakistan now ranks 134th out of 135 countries on women’s economic participation.
 
The consequences, Professor Farzana Bari said, are negative.
 
“Women are growing up as very disempowered, dependent human beings. So they are forced to be dependent on men for financial support, for economic support. Unless the state itself becomes more engendered, and I suppose it can only do that when there is more gender perspectives integrated in government structures and processes, only then we can move to gender equality,” said Bari.
 
Anis Haroon, chairwoman of the government-backed National Commission on the Status of Women, did not address the new report specifically but did say that violence and discrimination against women in Pakistan have increased over the last three decades. She attributes the trend in part to the increasing Islamization of the nation and the rise of violence as a whole.
 
Haroon said that in the last three years, six laws have been passed to protect women against attacks such as acid-throwing. But she acknowledges it is a struggle to defend women’s rights.
 
“We have been able to maintain some of our spaces, and are trying our best, and we are pushing all the time to increase our space, but it is a tough fight, and I am not saying one should give up hope, but it is no doubt very tough,” she said.
 
But Mirza said a new generation of youth, such as the teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, are already defying structural and cultural restrictions. Many in Pakistan were outraged when Yousafzai was shot and wounded by the Taliban for her views.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 26, 2012 7:02 AM
Women are their own undoing. While some of them are busy trying to see how to liberate the women from such inhuman treatments as obtain especially in the muslim and rural areas, most of the women on their own become a clog in the wheel of progress. For example, there were some women newscasters in Nigeria that dressed either in the accepted wrapper and blouses traditional Nigerian women wears or the civil western attires when they read the news. These suddenly changed into hikabs and package-wrapping of their entire bodies except the face that makes them look like masquerades or Egyptian mummies - this just to show themselves in support of islam.

They forget that with it they sell their rights and liberty. Even when given the opportunity to vote, women choose such legislation that further dehumanize them. What music do women love most? Those that express rough, harsh and the worst violence against women. Women want freedom and liberation, yet it is the same women that want womenfolk to remain decades and centuries behind in social emancipation. But men cannot force freedom on them when they don't want it even if they deserve it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More