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Islam, Women and Feminism (01 Jan 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

War-Torn Syria and Iraq Performed Better Than Pakistan on Gender Equality Parameters

By Dr Rakhshinda Perveen

December 30, 2018

Dowry violence is one of the many manifestations of patriarchal culture that is comfortably integrated in our routine lives. Different structures in development practice and governance as well as the society at large have cleverly assigned social sanction and legal safeguard to it. This custom is not only lethal to the self-esteem, emotional and physical health of the potential brides but to their entire families as well. Disconsolately, it has yet to be criminalized in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that has been ranked (yet again) the second worst country (148/149) on gender equality parameters as per the calculations of the report on gender global index by the WEF. This means that the war-torn Syria and Iraq performed better than Pakistan. Initiating charity institutions and enabling induction of some women in politics and non- traditional sectors are good optics but not necessarily effective means to abate gender inequalities. Pakistan urgently needs significant steps to reduce gender discrimination and improve protection of potential victims of Gender Based Violence (including dowry violence that is too often mistakenly confused or equated with domestic abuses). This would require courageous thinking and social innovation as preconditions.

Though the Beijing Platform of Action 1995 (to which the country is a signatory), adopted at UN’s fourth world conference on women, does mention dowry-related violence in its para 113, it took me, more than a decade to get the very term (dowry violence), included in the official documents about Violence Against Women, of our (devolved) Federal Ministry of women development. Working on gender issues, made me discover, that the concept “dowry violence” is alien to a vast majority of English-speaking elites in the development sector of Pakistan and therefore , technical and aid agencies too are generally unaware of this form of violence against women.

Dowry violence continues to suffer from marginalization and misinterpretation and due to the over dosage of negligence about the concept. The attention usually revolves around symptomatic forms of violence and approachability to only those aspects of “empowerment of women”, that assure, not to bring out, any transformative changes

Dowry violence continues to suffer from marginalization and misinterpretation, due to over dosage of negligence about the concept. The attention usually revolves around symptomatic forms of violence and approachability to only those aspects of “empowerment of women”, that assure, not to bring out, any transformative changes. This may be verified by any random check of the aid effectiveness, social class of a vast majority of the decision makers and patriarchal penchant of the media.

While working with different legislators in different governments for a legislation against dowry violence the most common off the record friendly comments were “this is impossible/you are up to destroying our businesses and social life/ it is the issue of our servants”. The biases of social classes are often overlooked in detecting and dissecting gender inequalities. There are serious conflicts of interest as well. Who wants the losses of millions incurred by banning advertisements of bank loans for dowry items, TV shows promoting marriage expenses, bridal fashion shows? What would happen to the revenues of the wedding planners, beauty salons and dress designers if suddenly the youth of Pakistan start rejecting dowry and bari (gift items from groom’s family) both? What if the media starts boycotting weddings and the vulgar display of wealth and power?

The abuses attached with the institution of dowry can only be ended when the State empowers women to stand up against dowry demand, injury and death and reporting such abuses. This in turn means that the state and its civil society have to do some deep retrospection by looking at the spectrum of dowry violence. They have to accept that it is rooted in the low status assigned to girls at the time of birth and even at prenatal stage, sex selective abortion, son preference, certain harmful cultural practices like child marriage, exchange marriage, vulvar/bride price, “accidental” stove deaths or injuries, acid attacks etc- lie in this apparently benign practice of dowry that has been systematically institutionalized.

Our legislators have to bring a tough law (that touches all three forms of justice i.e. corrective, distributive and justices in the social norms and practices of society) against the entire spectrum of dowry violence, in all regions of Pakistan. This is possible if they are pushed by a socio-culturally acceptable behavioural change campaign, navigated by genuine disruptors in the civil society of Pakistan. The time to say adieus to the stereotypical portrayal of victims and survivors of dowry systems has arrived. All campaigns cannot be run and won through Hashtags and disclosure of sufferers. Instead of searching for survivors of dowry violence it would be better to look around for young couples and genuinely enlightened families who opted for austerity in marriages and refrained from dowry demand. This may inject renewed energy to dishonour the elitist consensus that has been intelligently constructed and is being carefully executed in the development sector (to save the interests of the classes who matter in this country).

Recently UN Women Pakistan started an exciting drive against dowry demand and related issues. I earnestly pray for its success and passionately hope that eventually a consensus for a strong law, will be passed.

Dr Rakhshinda Perveen is a gender expert, researcher and a campaigner against dowry violence since 1994.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/338634/dowry-violence-and-pakistan/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/dr-rakhshinda-perveen/war-torn-syria-and-iraq-performed-better-than-pakistan-on-gender-equality-parameters/d/117324


  • Naseer sb.,
    Which verse were you discussing when you said, "Why shouldn't there be laws to protect the weak in the meanwhile? The condition precedent takes care that the verse will not apply when there is equality. Moreover, it is for the weak to choose the option given to them and take advantage of the positive discrimination or not take advantage of it," in this very thread?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/8/2019 2:20:45 PM

  • I have not brought verse 4:34 into discussion here. There is no need for it since the same is being discussed in another thread in great detail.

    You are in the habit of repeating yourself but I find no need for it.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/8/2019 12:38:16 AM

  • How can I reply to your comment in this thread by putting it in another thread?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/7/2019 11:48:21 PM

  • Are you not discussing verse 4:34 in another thread? Say whatever you want to say there.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/7/2019 11:33:30 PM

  • Naseer sb., 
    Which verse were you referring to in: By Naseer Ahmed - 1/6/2019 9:59:38 PM?
    My comment is a direct response to it. I said, "The verse puts women on a lower footing and infantilizes them. You seem to want to perpetuate such subjugation."
    If you do not have an answer, just say so honestly and candidly.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/7/2019 12:40:33 PM

  • If you want to discuss a specific verse, do so in the proper thread
    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/7/2019 2:31:49 AM

  • The verse puts women on a lower footing and infantilizes them. You seem to want to perpetuate such subjugation.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/7/2019 12:47:22 AM

  • Who is stopping you from taking affirmative action? Why shouldn't there be laws to protect the weak in the meanwhile?

    The condition precedent takes care that the verse will not apply when there is equality. Moreover, it is for the weak to choose the option given to them and take advantage of the positive discrimination or not take advantage of it.

    Nobody forces the dalit to take advantage of reservations for them.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/6/2019 9:59:38 PM

  • Naseer sb. says, "The Quran protects the weak through positive discrimination."

    The weak became weak because of people who laud 4:34. Positive discrimination is like giving alms to a beggar. American Blacks, Indian Dalits and women all over the world need affirmative action, not positive discrimination.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/6/2019 1:09:17 PM

  • The Quran protects the weak through positive discrimination. GM sb takes positive discrimination as an affront. His interest is in slogan mongering and misleading people rather than the good of those who are weak.

    Political idealism is a tool to deceive the masses whom you claim to represent and has resulted in more suffering for the very people the politicians pretend to represent. That does not bother these self-seekers.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/6/2019 12:32:31 AM

  • Naseer sb. and Zuma sb.,
    Equality means all human beings are equal in dignity and rights.
    It means an end to patriarchal hegemony.
    We cannot blame ourselves or God for lack of equality. Equality is a goal towards which we must continue to strive.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/5/2019 12:54:56 PM

  • None should blame why there is no equal status in this society since Allah is the one that creates the difference.  Allah is the one that creates authority and to grant people to exercise it.  As Allah is the one that grants authority to the people, those people who criticise why none are in equal status are indirectly accusing why Allah grants different levels of authority to people.  Instead, they have to respect the decision from Allah for he purposes whom he wants more authority to be given.  The one Allah purposes to give more authority, the more higher ranks they should be.  Muslims should respect Allah's decision instead of overturn the decision of Allah to create riots in this society as what terrorists do.  Terrorists rebel against Allah's decision to whom he purposes with higher ranks to rule.  They vandalize publicly and create havoc in the society to despise their governors.  They who despise their governors indirectly despise the power or the authority that has been granted by Allah.  Isn't it pitiful?  They who proclaim to be Muslims, believers of Allah, and yet they overturn the decision of Allah to have their rulers to be given with high ranks to rule over them.  These terrorists indeed fight against the authority that Allah has given to rulers.  Pitiful!
    By zuma - 1/5/2019 2:12:44 AM

  • GM sb, They are right. All are certainly equal in the eyes of Allah. That does not however mean that all are created equal nor even that there is perfect justice on this earth.
    All are neither equal nor is there perfect justice on this earth but justice will certainly find perfection in the Hereafter and no person shall be wronged by Allah and everyone will get justly rewarded or justly punished.
    Those who understand the Quran are at all times grateful to Allah for what He has bestowed on them even when they are in extreme pain.
    (21:83) And (remember) Job, when He cried to his Lord, "Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful."
    Job, from being a rich man with a large family lost everything and yet remained grateful. Finally, he was inflicted with severe physical distress from a skin infection all over his body and yet he remained grateful. He finally regained both health and his wealth and started a new family. He is the only non-Bani-Israel who is recognized by the Jews as a prophet because they could not ignore him as they did all others who were not Bani Israel.
    The one on whom Allah has bestowed more of his favours is not lucky but most unfortunate if he does not use the blessings of Allah in the service of Allah.
    That is how justice will catches up with everyone.
    On this earth, differences and variety  is of a necessity without which life/existence itself is impossible.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/5/2019 12:18:25 AM

  • Quran 18:95 (Yusuf Ali translation), "He said, '(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute)...". The phrase, (The power) in which my Lord has established me, in Quran 18:95 implies power or authority is granted by Allah and that is why Muslims have to obey those who are in authority. As Allah grants them the power to rule the countries, their status is higher than residents. As Allah grants them the power, their status is higher than anybody else and it causes no equality of status among human beings.
    By zuma - 1/4/2019 2:23:10 PM

  • Quran 4:59 (Yusuf Ali translation), "O ye who believe! Obey...the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you...".  The phrase, those charged with authority among you, as mentioned here refers to those rulers with highest status.  As the phrase, obey...those...with authority, is mentioned here, it implies Muslims have to give high respect to those rulers.  As Muslims have to obey those rulers, they are high in ranks as compared to residents.  As those rulers who are high in ranks have to be given with high respect for Muslims to obey them, their ranks are never equal.  As all the people are equal in status, all the people shall be given the same salaries.  As all the people are not equal especially those who are rulers, they shall be given with higher salaries than others.  The same as in the companies.  All the people whether men and women are not treated to be equal or else all will receive same salaries.  Those with higher authority shall receive higher salaries.  As Quran 4:59 mentions Muslims have to give respect especially to those with authority, there is no equality in status due to different levels of authority in the companies.

    By zuma - 1/4/2019 1:59:26 PM

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