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Educational institutions call for end to gender-based discrimination


March 9, 2021

International Women’s Day was celebrated in Karachi on Monday at different educational institutions, including the University of Karachi and the Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), which held seminars to highlight the problems being faced by women.

Addressing KU’s programme, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that besides fulfilling their traditional responsibilities, women are now also playing a significant role in the betterment of society.

“We can see a large number of females performing professional duties at almost every level in the public and private sectors while they also manage and run their households.” He said that one of the main reasons behind this positive trend is the fact that women are more keen on getting a higher education, and that they want to play their part in the development of society.

He added that Islam has given women a great position that no one else has been able to give. However, due to the patriarchal system and the feudal culture, not all women are enjoying their rights in Pakistan, he added. To address this problem, he pointed out, we need to fix our society instead of looking towards the West.

“Only an educated woman can raise her children well who can play an important role in the development of the country. The development of any country depends on its manpower and we should keep in mind that almost half of the population of the country is made up of women.”

Prof Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah, director of KU’s Centre of Excellence for Women’s Studies, said that unfortunately, in many communities the employment of women is considered a bad and shameful act.

She said that women can play their part in the development of society if supported by their families and society. “If we talk about a man’s education, it means the learning of one person, but when we’re talking about educating a woman, it means we’re teaching the whole family.”

She noted that the West never discriminates between males and females, and both genders are enjoying their fundamental rights equally, which is not the case in Pakistan. Addressing the SMIU’s programme, Tara Uzra Dawood, president of the Ladiesfund and the Dawood Global Foundation, said that she was inspired by the role the university was playing in the development of society. “This great institution is building resilience.”

She said that the future is female, advising the female students of the university to work hard if they want to achieve something in their life. Nisha Rao, the first transgender lawyer of the country, urged the government and other organisations to spend money on education and skill development projects for the transgender community. “This will be a great service to our people.”

She said that her presence at the law college while she was pursuing her degree was unacceptable to her classmates. “I don’t understand why people don’t accept us as a part of society,” she asked. She remarked that education has changed her life completely.

Commending the role of different Pakistani women, SMIU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Sahrai Memon said that they have played a very positive role in making this nation proud. “We have to maintain the balance for further development of the country. The country will prosper with your [women’s] participation.”

He said that Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, the great poet of Sindh, conveyed this message to the world through his characters like Sohni, Momal, Sassi and Marvi. “His poetry has different meanings at local and global levels.”

He remarked that Pakistan’s geography and human resources makes it a wonderful country. “I want to salute some of the best women of Pakistan who played a very important and a decisive role in the development of the country and this nation.”

Among the names he listed were Fatima Jinnah, Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, Benazir Bhutto, Fahmida Mirza, Hina Rabbani Khar, Malala Yousafzai, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Arfa Karim.