As part of Why Are We Still Here?, a series of 12 blogs written by women around the world to mark International Women’s Day, Zubeida Mustafa reflects on the need for two strands of women to unite in Pakistan’s women’s rights movement.
I became a feminist when I was five. My brother who is a year younger than me had snatched my favourite doll. I tried to retrieve it but failed. The drama ended when the doll lay mauled up as I sobbed uncontrollably at the destruction of my precious possession. When the tears had dried I learned that more than physical strength you need wits and courage to get what you think is yours.
As I grew up and writing became my passion – first as a researcher and then a journalist – and I saw the oppression of women in my society at close quarters. More than wits, they lacked awareness about their rights and the confidence to defy conservative traditions enforced by a patriarchal society. Education had empowered me. But an overwhelming majority of our women are not educated.
Please click here to read the full article “60% of women still oppressed” published on Commonwealth Writers website.