ByÂ Pooja Baburaj:
In a Political Science class, the opening statement in the unit “Social Inequalities” has constantly persisted to be the following – “Women have always been considered to be ‘sub-ordinate’ to men in the society”. Our status and role in the society have been, since the dawn of civilizations, bound by the prerogatives and obligations of a homemaker. However, the advent of industrial revolution and the Second World War brought more than just steam engines and new territorial states to the world — wars meant that men who served as store clerks and factory labourers now became radar men and rocket launchers. Women had to step into their shoes to save their nations’ factories — their work in grime and general squalor is why we have progressed into the age of electric engines. Thus, if it weren’t for several Rosie the Riveters, we would be reading comics under oil lamps, and squatting flies with hand-fans would have emerged as a popular hobby.
As of now we are definitely doing great, we have succeeded in living out of the stereotypical identity of women and their social description as a ‘Husband’s wife and Son’s mother’. Yet we still do have further to go and more to do. Women are consistent and continued victims of brutish acts world-wide. In India itself, every 20 minutes a girl becomes a victim of molestation. According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing in India’s population as a result of systematic sex discrimination. Despite the highly de-motivating state of affairs and immensely discouraging statistics, women have still not deterred to express their solidarity, strength and support for each other in times of desperation.
Recently, the Members of Pakistani civil society groups organized a candle light vigil in the capital city of Islamabad to express outrage at the gang rape of a young woman in India. They initiated the event to show cohesion with the Indian civil society’s demand for stronger laws to punish rapists. The protesters lit candles, made posters and shouted slogans like We show solidarity with women in India and We will stand up for women everywhere. A large number of passers-by joined the gathering at Super Market in the heart of Islamabad and expressed anger and anguish at the gang rape that triggered protests across India. The vigil was organized by the Potohar Organization of Development Advocacy, Sisters Trust Pakistan and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Several persons who addressed the gathering demanded capital punishment for rapists while others favoured austere punishment, including life imprisonment. The gathering observed a moment of silence for the victim of the gang rape in India and concluded with the demand for a law on domestic violence against women in Pakistan. Consequently, women have yet again effectively demonstrated and confirmed that to entitle women as the weaker sex is not mere vilification – it is man’s vindictive prejudice on women. If supremacy and authority is determined by brute strength then indeed man sets his foot ahead. But if by strength is meant moral power, then woman is invincibly man’s dominant. She has greater intuition, is more self-sacrificing, and has greater powers of endurance and greater courage. Without her, man could not be.