Wooden blocks with man and woman symbols on them

Is Gender Equality Actually Achievable?

A young woman from Pakistan shares her views on why we are still far from achieving gender equality.

Social Issues
By VoiceBox ·

Manaal

Manaal is a self-motivated individual from Pakistan who brings attention to issues relating to betterment of every living being. She finds the inter-personal relationships of culture, individual rights, and the dynamics of the evolving world fascinating. She represents a community of shared respect, religion, ethnicity, and culture.

Is Gender Equality Actually Achievable?

Instead of moving forwards, we are gradually going backward. It seems we are too fixated on how a woman looks and dresses to focus on any other global issue. From our humor to  scientific claims, we do not miss a chance to demean women. Be it a workplace or home, it seems as though women are often suppressed, ordered not to speak out loud, objectified, questioned when they have even the slightest difference in perspective. There are countless successful women in the field of science and technology, yet we somehow forget their accomplishments and continue to objectify and make sexist jokes about them. For example, Mayim Bialik, a starring female actress in the show “The Big Bang Theory,” has a Ph. D. in Neuroscience. She is an incredible actress too, and yet she is still judged by her appearances. She has been trolled on social media for her physical features. 

This explains how society sees a man and a woman. A woman has to have explicable bodily features in order to prosper. Artists like Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Scarlett Johanson, and many more have encountered sexist questions in public interviews, and this is just the surface level of sexism that happens publically. The sexism often runs deeper than what we can see on the surface. Women are suppressed in modern households as well. We are still engraved with the thinking that men are superior to women on all levels, and it is hard to diminish such thinking when it is collective, and even the laws and rules comply with it.

In an Islamic Society, especially in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is commonly understood  that women are oppressed, tied down, or not given the same rights as men. In this country, people often refrain from educating women, so they cannot prosper or grow as equal beings. Even if they are given access to basic education, they are often withheld from applying their knowledge in the workforce. Compaines are biased towards picking male employees because they find that men are not as restricted when it comes to working late or traveling for work, and they don’t have to work around pregnancies. So instead, women are told to settle down as soon as they reach a certain age and stay at home hidden from the rest of the world. 

Women in our society are frowned upon if they speak up for themselves. You can take the example of the “Aurat March” that happens every year and how badly the media portrays the women that participate. This negative image creates hatred for those women who dare to speak up against sexism, and yet we continue to live in a society where patriarchy is worshipped and practiced.  

These inequalities are seen not only in Eastern culture but also in Western culture. Women staying at home and doing chores is preferred while the man goes out and does activities outside the house. The man is often considered the head of the household, which comes with the responsibilities such as paying for groceries and household bills, managing the education of the children, paying for medical bills of elders, etc. To many people, a working woman means that the man of the house is “slacking off,” and that they are under some sort of financial crisis. Women are supposed to bear children and stay at home doing household chores, and men are supposed to earn. A very recent incident regarding this matter happened in New Dehli, where a husband, in the midst of an argument with his wife, stabbed her repeatedly in broad daylight. The alleged reason for the argument was that ‘Neelu, wife of Harish Mehta worked in a Government Hospital and refused to  quit her job.’ This presents how patriarchy is deeply embedded in people’s minds, which is why it is difficult to diminish it. 

In conclusion, we are still far away from reaching gender equality if we ever reach it. In many ways men and women are still not considered equal. The majority of the reasons for this inequality are made up, but they are still embedded at the back of our minds. Children from a very young age have to face this inequality which leads to another generation that perpetuates this inequality. If these differences are put aside and both genders are treated equally we would be able to progress as a society because there would be no restrictions for an individual simply based on their gender.

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