Author: HINA MOHSIN
Time To Smash The Power Structure
Few moments back some lines flash in my mind that I had once read somewhere; “I am self, I am master, all the rest is other; outside, below, underneath, subservient. I own, I use, I explore, I exploit, I control. What I do is what matters. What I want is what matter is for. I am that I am and the rest is women and wilderness, to be used as I see fit.”
These lines brought all my attention to the center and made me to sit in a meditative pose. I tried to calm my mind so that I could then focus more on it and tackle it out. It made me to question about how the world works, how and why we have been trained into such a social structure in which one is privileged over the other? and how we all pass on this hegemonic system of power relations based on gender norms from generation to generation.
I really want to explore why do men exhibit power over women in societies for decades? why have females historically and overwhelmingly, being oppressed, exploited, or otherwise disadvantaged? why the status and rights of womanhood, are only conferred upon those who perform the society assigned roles?
In order to answer all my questions I had to understand really whether this power structure which we call it as patriarchy was, as most of us have been taught, natural, almost God given condition or whether it was a human invention coming out of a specific historic period.
Well, then after a deep study on the attention seeking issue, I came to the conclusion that the existing social structure is the ultimate creation of the human beings, which was created by them at a certain given point in the historical development of the human race. It was probably appropriate as a solution For the problems of that time, which was the Bronze Age, but what we really need to realize now is that this pathetic ideology is no longer appropriate in the 21 century.
As Even in today’s modernized and technological Era, like elsewhere women’s subordination has also been widely found in the newly emerged districts of Pakistan. A large womenfolk of newly emerged districts are still illiterate, the weak, backward and exploited and the experiences of gender inequality and discrimination are still faced by them within the household and society at large.
They have still been deprived of their due rights in four fundamental sectors i.e. economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
And apart from this, what I have personally been witnessing is that, women are merely considered as beneficiaries but not part of decision making process. This thinking is so deep rooted in behavioral, cultural and family traditions from ancient times that our attitudes are often unfavorable to women’s participation in decision making at family and communal level.
The local traditions and norms of seclusion and segregation, family system, cultural discourses of veil and four walls, have restricted and confined women to the private sphere of household, leaving little room for women’s access to the wider society.
To be honest, for me, being a female in such an environment, means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by the dominant sector.
So for this, we really need to talk about all this, because if we don’t ask and call things out, they wouldn’t change. We would then never be able to figure out what kind of struggle we need to conduct in order to emancipate ourselves from the shackles imposed on us by the custom, belief and practices in the society.
I know, it’s not that easy to respond to these challenges and we have miles to go to confront the traditional roles and change our lives but still we will strive to get rid of our stereotypical image, as the weak, dependent and passive. And for sure, will become independent, active, strong and determined human beings.
In order to fight against this powerful socially constructed structure, we have to swim against the system that requires more strength and such strength comes from the process of empowerment, which is carried out only through the medium of education. Education is considered as a milestone for women empowerment, prosperity, development and welfare.
Through only this powerful tool, we can reduce inequalities and can improve women’s status and position in the society. Providing them quality education is the fundamental way to empower women which makes them scientific, logical, open minded and self respecting and also ensures greater autonomy in making decisions and enables them to realize their full identity And powers in all the spheres of life.
I do believe we can only break these socio-cultural barriers with our persistent struggle towards empowerment. we need to empower more women leaders at grassroots levels, who can actually be the role models and can lead the way for other women by raising their voices and fighting for their rights.
Hence, women education and women empowerment is the need of the hour, which will enable them to have access and make productive contributions to their economic independence, political participation and social development. It will enable women to acquire knowledge, skills and techniques which will help them in their personal and social growth as well as foster in them sensitivity towards problems in the society.
Though increasing access to education notwithstanding, still there is a huge gap between male and female literacy rate and gender discrimination still persists in the rural areas of Pakistan, for which lot more needs to be done in the field of women education.
Thus, we call for a renewed emphasis on relevant and quality education because only literacy and education can help women out to accomplish their goals in par with men in different stages of life.
Government should launch different schemes at the grassroots levels for women empowerment which will help in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for them, which should aims at striving towards acquiring high literacy level and education, better healthcare for women and their children, equal ownership of productive resources, increased participation in economic and commercial sectors, awareness of their rights, improved standard of living, career building, vocational guidance occupational opportunities and to achieve self reliance, self confidence and self respect among women.
And also proper implementation of these schemes provided by the government should be done by respective agencies to bring the desired results. In order to make that happen, we really need to see women less as passive recipients of help and more as dynamic promoters of social transformation.
In the end, it is much cleared that, we can only smash the existing power structure by the power of women education and empowerment as it really has a powerful influence to control the environment women are living in and this way they can contribute to the best of their capacity and ability which is possible when they are educated and empowered because only educated women are aware of their rights and importance and can play a very dominant role in the economic development as well as in becoming informed citizens, parents, family members and can contribute to the development of rural areas.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Voice of Freedom’s editorial stance.