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October 24, 2016

Women at work

Newspost

 
October 24, 2016

I often use the MetroBus service to commute between Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In my latest encounter, I noticed that a woman at the ticket counter had covered herself by draping a black chador all over her face, not even leaving any area open for eyes. I do not think this was a one-off incident. The women stationed at the entry point, scanning for bags, had also covered their faces. Their friendly interaction with fellow male colleagues hinted that they had covered up not by choice but because of social needs.

Such safeguards hint at the social discomfort and visual/verbal harassment faced by women at public places. Public institutions should aim towards changing such mindset. Public places should be a message of gender equality, civic sense and personal space. Well designed and socially conscious campaigns might help, as can imposition of fines on misconduct against women.

Tayeba Batool

Rawalpindi

*****

This refers to the slapping incident that took place at a National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) office. A woman reporter was slapped by a Frontier Constabulary guard posted at the Nadra office. We shouldn’t be surprised at the guard’s reaction, because he has grown up in an environment where women are treated like dirt. Across the country, right-wing activists proclaim that women are responsible for all wrongs in society and that men should ensure that their women remain silent and submissive at all times.

What is really surprising is the fact that a Nadra official has filed a case against the reporter who was at the receiving end of the violence.

Shakir Lakhani

Karachi