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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs