Women empowerment, as we understand it today, is essentially a western concept and carries connotations that cannot be adopted by us in its totality. With women’s liberation, unisexualism, and equality of sexes as its core values, this doctrine is bound to come into collision with our social, moral and religious values. However, there is still a lot in it that is both suitable and worth achieving for us. Focusing on the national scenario and then zooming in on the provincial scene, we find that women in Pakistan already enjoy a good number of rights for which the Western women had to fight tooth and nail. This includes the right to vote, the right to inheritance, the right to contest elections for the highest position in the government, the right to seek divorce and many more rights.
What actually denies them the benefits of all these rights is the socio-cultural setup in Pakistan in general, and in Baluchistan in particular. Even if they are well aware of all these rights, they neither have the resources nor the capacity to avail these rights for their well-being. It is pertinent to note here that the issue of women empowerment is basically the same throughout the country. Only, in areas where tribal customs and traditions play a decisive factor, the literacy rate is too low, and the feudal system is still strong, the issues of women empowerment not only hamper their well-being, but are also more difficult to resolve.
Although restructuring the society is a daunting task and there is still a lot to be done, yet we can say that the progress made so far has been satisfactory. Women empowerment is no longer a myth; it is now a reality that promises a better future for women of this country. Women in Balochistan, however, will have to go a few extra miles to be able to change the local perspectives vis-à-vis women rights and women empowerment. The ongoing progress in terms of general awareness, better education and participation of women in the developmental process in Balochistan is very promising and we can hope for a better life for the women of this province in the coming years.
MUHAMMAD YASIR KAYANI