I believe you are a bit off in realizing the true essence of this essay. You had to write on the current Pakistani society, therefore any historical references should have been brief, lets say not more than 10% of your essay. Moreover you should have explained woman both as an angel and as a source of evil. Touching the rural aspect vis a vis Atrocities, Honor Killings, Karo Kari, Domestic Violence etc are all pet aspects of such a topic and won’t get you marks because everyone writes on them. What you should have done was write on how the urban woman is changing this landscape. You could have wrote on how women are progressing in the corporate world, how more and more woman entrepreneurs are springing up especially in the fashion related industries, urban v/s rural woman, role of woman in NGOs and creating social awareness etc. What I would have done here is a contrast between urban and rural woman and shifting societal norms and values especially due to education and media awareness. Pakistani society represents a stark contrast in this sense because in rural areas, woman don’t command much respect as opposed to urban areas where they are an integral part of the society. Due to increasing education and awareness, most women are working and contributing to household income in the urban areas and command much greater respect, independence and authority relative to a rural woman.
ABSTRACT: The study examines Rural and Urban differences in consumer decision making in Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. There are factors which impact upon What,When,Where, and Which Brand will purchased by the consumer. The participants in this study will be family units in Grahamstown and the Albany district i.e. (Seven Fountain, Alicedale, Salem) in South Africa. ...
Basically in short, you should have touched on the evolving societal dynamics, urban v/s rural woman, role of education and media etc
Why gender matters in education
InpaperMagzine By Muhammad AliFebruary 6, 2011
The role of women cannot be overlooked in the progress of any nation. Almost half of Pakistan’s population consists of women. On the one hand, the role of women is viewed highly substantial for the development of our country, and on the other the magnitude of gender disparity is evident in different fields of life, particularly in education.
According to UNESCO (2006) there is a wide gender gap in literacy and enrollment at the primary as well as the secondary level of education in Pakistan. Similarly, the National Education Policy 2009 has also highlighted the issue of low enrolment ratio of women from primary to the higher education level. This situation demands a deeper and critical reflection to understand the gender issues in our educational system.
Education is generally viewed as an effective way to address gender-related issues in a society. It is believed that education empowers women by enhancing their competencies and preparing them to participate actively in social/economic activities. However, educational institutions do not work without interacting with and getting influenced by other factors/institutions such as family, state, media and society. Hence, at times educational institutions are forced to perpetuate the stereotypes held against women by other influential societal forces.
It is due to such influences of society that educational institutions are not considered very encouraging for women to actualise their potential in the presence of different challenges such as discrimination, sexual harassment, dominancy of males and so on. Therefore the learning environment in educational institutions needs to be transformed in order to respond to the issue of gender disparity and discrimination. In this regard, a rigorous reflection is required on the different aspects of education such as policies, teaching learning process, textbooks and culture.
Formation of policies and its implementation, from national to school level, have a crucial implication for women’s participation in education. It is evident that the policies without gender sensitivity and serious implementation cannot ensure gender parity and equality in education. The National Education Policy 2009 itself has highlighted the failure of the previous policies in eliminating gender disparity from the primary to higher education level.
A womans role is primarily that of a wife and a mother do you agree? The big debate about a womans role, and place in the society has been going on for a long time, and is still continuing. Women have been fighting to be able to stand on the same podium as men for over decades of years. However, I do agree with the given statement that the primary role of women in the society is to be a wife and a ...
According to Kabeer (1994) policies and rules play an important role in determining the dynamics of power and distribution of role and resources among different people in educational institutions. Policies and rules are sometimes gender-discriminative and provide less opportunity to women to have access to power and resources. For example, women have to pass many barriers to reach a leadership position therefore there is gender disparity in leadership in Pakistani schools.
Furthermore, it has been observed that girls’ schools get low budgets for sports, co-curricular activities and other facilities such as water, electricity, cleaning and so on. Hence, the policies need to be gender-sensitive at the formation level as well as at the implementation level.
In our educational institutions, particularly in schools, textbooks are viewed as the major source of knowledge for the teachers and students. However, Ashraf (2009) argued that in Pakistan textbooks are not gender-balanced rather they are dominantly male-oriented. Most illustrations and text in textbooks are focused on the roles related to men, while women are portrayed with specific roles such as care giving or serving others.
Such material in the textbooks eventually defines gender roles in students’ minds and as a consequence those images are practiced in society. Hence textbooks need to be reviewed with the gender perspective in mind in order to provide a balance and gender-sensitive education to our new generation. In this regard the authors of textbooks must be made aware of the lasting effect of stereotypes found in the books and other teaching and learning material.
The teaching/learning process is also important in shaping the gender concepts of students. Teachers come to class with their own baggage of perceptions about gender, carried on from society. Literature has highlighted that teachers expect different behavior from the boys and girls and treat them accordingly. The male teachers are better known for doing this. Furthermore, boys and girls are given different roles in class. For instance, boys are given leadership roles while the girls are assigned easier tasks.
... gender roles and expectations and they associate various traits or qualities with gender categories.All societies engage in the social construction of gender. A gendered ... objectives is to raise the profile of female athletes among school students and to boost the numbers of ... be adopting The Mentor as Anything! Programme, (Winning Women Role Models). The Australia New Zealand Sports Law Association ...
The discrimination shapes students’ definition about gender. Hence, there is a need to include gender education in teacher education programmes to sensitise the educators about gender issues. The teachers should be helped in developing strategies that encourage cooperation and respect among all students, regardless of their gender.
School culture is another significant aspect considered pertinent in gender education. It is shaped by different factors such as the rules, norms, values and beliefs and so on which are envisaged and encouraged through written or unwritten form. These rules, norms and beliefs determine how males and females interact and treat each other in a school environment. The culture determines the way to access power and resources for males and females in the school. Sometimes the stereotypes from society are reflected in a school’s culture. For example, leadership is considered as the male domain so there is reluctance shown in giving a leadership position to females.
Female teachers are given less opportunity for professional development. But if the school develops gender-sensitive values, it provides opportunities to maximum people to participate in the decision-making processes. Both male and female teachers are given equal opportunities for professional development and progress. Unlike patriarchal society the women are encouraged and supported to opt for leadership roles/positions. Therefore the school culture has crucial gender implications; either in creating barriers for women or empowering them.
To influence society regarding gender equality, the schools require developing a strong relation with parents and community. The school can play a vital role in educating the parents about gender equality through continuous interaction and sensitising. This way rather than getting influenced by the stereotypes held in the society, the school can positively influence society.
Sadker and Sadker (1994) reported a startling fact that few people realize. Today's girls continue a three-hundred year-old struggle for full participation in America's educational system. During colonial times school doors were closed for young women seeking knowledge, and the home was considered the learning place for young women. The home, serving as the girls' classroom, was where young girls ...
So in order to increase the participation and involvement of women in the development of the country we need to educate and empower them. Educational institutions here need to take two important responsibilities in this regard.
Firstly, they should transform their learning conditions and environment where women can actualise their potential through educative activities. The process demands from the educational institutions to reflect seriously on their practices from the gender perspective to review the policies, curriculum and textbooks, teaching learning processes and culture.
Second, they should develop such a strong learning environment where the stereotypes of society held against women can be challenged in an educative manner. They need to develop the capacity to influence society through their educational activities rather than get influenced by the stereotypes and ill-informed practices of society.
The writer works as teacher/youth educator in a community-based organisation.
Dissecting the double standard
by Faris Islam on July 28th, 2011 | Comments (86)
After five tumultuous months, which included the aftermath of the bin Laden raid and a few rounds of Indo-Pak diplomacy, last week Hina Rabbani Khar was sworn-in as Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. To many, Khar seemed an obvious choice, serving as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs without a Foreign Minister for the last five months and previously serving as Minister of State for Economic Affairs under both the Musharraf and Zardari governments. While hardly surprising, Khar’s appointment was historic as she became Pakistan’s first female Foreign Minister and currently, the youngest serving Foreign Minister in the world. Suffice to say, the reaction to Khar’s appointment, both at home and abroad have been mixed, with some hailing the new FM as an example for Pakistani women everywhere and others decrying Ms. Khar as ‘just another feudal’.
While the double-standard between male and female politicians worldwide is hardly new, the debate over whether Khar’s appointment is a victory for Pakistan’s women appears to be. In a recent article for Foreign Policy, Huma Imtiaz argues that appointing our first female Foreign Minister is hardly a cause for celebration, dismissing her electoral victory in the NA-177 seat as based “of her last name and feudal lineage” and arguing that “women MPs being elevated to positions of power has rarely translated into real action or change for the women of Pakistan.”
The designs created by Coco Chanel have had the greatest impact on women’s fashion. Her designs are classic, timeless, and still very popular today. All of her accomplishments were because of her hard work, dedication, and being her own person. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur, France. (A+E Television Networks, LLC “Coco Chanel Biography”) When Chanel was twelve years ...
Pakistan has been making progress towards increasing female participation, and currently ranks 46th in the world with 22.2 per cent of the seats in the National Assembly and Senate filled by women. However, given that 17 per cent of the Senate and 18 per cent of the National Assembly is reserved for women, the 22.2 per cent of representatives quickly shrinks to between four and five per cent of elected representatives. Given the dearth of highly-visible, elected female politicians that can contribute to the national discourse and shape policies and priorities, perhaps when photos of Hina Rabbani Khar’s return from India are splashed across the nation’s media, we should focus on the peace process – and not her purse.
She was addressing a reception hosted by British High Commissioner Adam Thomson at the British High Commission on Monday night ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in Perth, Australia on 28th October.
The theme of the event was ‘Women as Agents of Change’ and the British High Commissioner was joined at the event by Australian High Commissioner Timothy George.
Hina Rabbani Khar said it was the credit of Pakistan that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of Muslim countries.
She said speaker of National Assembly is women and many other departments have significant representation of women.
Hina Rabbani Khar said from agriculture to business, women are actively participating in all the fields in Pakistan.
She said a number of legislation had been passed by the parliament with the support of all the political parties for the protection and empowerment of women.
Highlighting the importance of Benazir Income Support Programme, initiated by the present government, she said, the programme is aimed at the economic empowerment of the women through out the country.
The British High Commissioner said,” Today, we have highlighted just a few of Pakistan’s women who are playing inspiring roles across all areas of Pakistani society.
UNDP promotes equality between women and men through ‘gender mainstreaming.’ The organization’s corporate strategy on gender is designed to integrate the promotion of women’s empowerment and equality fully in the organization’s core business. This strategy calls for gender mainstreaming to become everyone’s job – not the responsibility of a small number of specialists. It rests ...
This is just a small example of the important role that women play in Pakistan every day.”
He said, “It is vital that Pakistan continues to encourage the involvement of women in all aspects of society, and we continue to support the government of Pakistan in achieving this.”
British High Commissioner Thomson said, “It’s important to recognise not just those inspirational women in the public eye but also those who work hard to bring a better life to those in their communities.”
He said, “We received many entries to our online competition highlighting many of Pakistan’s inspirational women.
Some were teachers who have inspired their students to strive to achieve their potential, some were mothers who worked tirelessly to look after their families and drive their children to succeed, and some were inspirational women working with those less fortunate in their communities to make a better life for those around them.”
The British High Commission used today’s event to celebrate the women, recognising their achievements at every level, and from every part of the country.
The British High Commission produced a video to recognise the inspirational stories of women in Pakistan from Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly to Zahida Kazmi, Pakistan’s first woman taxi driver as well as other exceptional women from politics, business, the NGO sector and the arts, recognising their contribution to Pakistan and their inspirational messages to women across the country.
PESHAWAR, Aug 4: Speakers at a workshop held here on Thursday stressed that media was to play an important role in sensitising the society about the human rights of women and in eliminating gender inequities.
The Individualland Pakistan, a non-profit body, and the Aurat Foundation, had organised the workshop, which is part of a series of workshops being conducted under the USAID supported Gender Equity Programme (GEP), to sensitise media on gender equity.
Media personnel belonging to print, TV, radio and social media participated in the session. The objectives of the initiative were to sensitise the electronic and print media regarding the issue of women empowerment and use it as a medium for advocacy.
The speakers said the US government, through USAID and in partnership with the Aurat Foundation had launched a five-year Gender Equity Programme in Pakistan in 2010 to advance women`s human rights and support Pakistani government`s policies against gender inequities.
Individualland Pakistan, under the programme, will conduct 23 sensitisation sessions in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad and Multan.
First Person: The beauty alchemist
InpaperMagzine By Fathma Amir
March 20, 2011
Saba styles model Nadia Hussain at the L’Oreal studio in Paris.–Dawn Newspaper
With her finger on the pulse of all that’s glamour, Saba Ansari is a class act — whether painting top fashion supermodels for runway shows, dolling up celebrities or making beautiful brides. She exerts her fingers and brushstrokes to create looks that defy reason and realism. Not limited by the conventional idea of beauty and style, Ansari uses her imagination and allows her creativity to flow through seamlessly, ultimately honing her craft to perfection.
Saba Ansari’s name is behind Sabs Salon that has successfully expanded from catering to the masses to branching out into the world of fashion and showbiz. After a decade in business, today Ansari has proved herself to be a force to reckon with. But aside from being an innovative stylist and businesswoman extraordinaire, she cherishes her role as a homemaker as well —her husband Kaukab, mother and three children are her support system and she attributes much of her success to them.
In this interview to Images , Ansari sheds light on Pakistan’s booming fashion industry, her role in the upcoming PFDC Fashion Week in Lahore and Fashion Images 2011 in Karachi, as well as her plans to take her business of beauty to Lahore and Dubai.
“I was attracted to beauty and looks even as a youngling. Later, I got the opportunity to begin my career at a professional salon and then took up beauty courses abroad. Back home, I started off with a small setup at a social club before I got my first break with an editorial spread followed by the music video of Pappu yar tang na kar by Junoon,” she remembers.
Today, Ansari’s work is regularly featured on the covers of all the country’s leading fashion and lifestyle glossies, and fashion runways as well. She also does the styling for a host of TV serials, morning shows and commercials and accredits a wholesome combination of hard work, great team and good fortune that has enabled her to make a mark in the industry.
She believes that the increasing number of fashion weeks and shows taking place have benefitted the fashion industry, and Pakistan at large. A layman has the savoir faire of style and trends in vogue because fashion has permeated into every segment of our society. “Pakistan’s fashion industry is growing progressively, and simultaneously it is creating bigger and better opportunities for everyone. It started off with the Fashion Pakistan Week and fashion has seen overwhelming success ever since. We made international headlines and now the world knows that we mean business,” says Saba Ansari.
IT education can boost girls confidence
Published: December 20, 2009
ISLAMABAD – “Learning about and with information technologies can build girls’ confidence.” This was the experience of Sumaira Tabassam, participant in training session on “Empowering Women Through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)”.
She teaches computer skills to children and youth in Muzzafargarh district. The trainees’ own confidence in the use of various ICTs, such as radio, internet and satellite phones, for gender equality was strengthened during the two-day training arranged by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on December 16 and 17 in Islamabad. Participants included women and men from NGOs from all four provinces. In a diverse manner, their organisations are working for women’s rights and empowerment in Pakistan.
The training built on pioneering research that the SDPI conducted on “The
Gender Digital Divide in Rural Pakistan – To Measure and to Bridge It,” i.e. differences between women and men in access to and use of ICTs in rural areas of the country. One of the main findings included the important role of the radio in rural settings. Radios are available in a large share of rural households. Women can access them comparatively easily in terms of permission required for use. Also, the study emphasised that constraints for women’s mobility and other social norms have a significant impact on women’s ability to access ICTs, such as PCOs or computer centres. The role of such norms has so far been ignored by the government’s IT policy and private companies’ strategies to reach out to the rural population. Dr Karin Astrid Siegmann, Visiting Fellow SDPI shared these findings with the participants during the training.
Building thereon, Ms Rafia Arshad, UKS Foundation, Islamabad, and Dr Rasheeda Panezai, MAHEC Trust, Quetta, built the participants’ skills in the practical application of ICTs for women’s empowerment. Ms Rafia familiarised students with the production of community radio programmes that address women’s issues and involve women as producers. She explained that UKS’ approach to empowerment through radio emphasised women’s many achievements rather than bemoaning their miseries. Radio is very powerful tool for awareness-raising in particular because of its wide outreach and low costs. During her interactive session, participants developed outlines of radio programmes featuring the problems of their areas, such as girls’ education in nomadic areas of Balochistan or Karo-kari in Sindh.
Dr Rasheeda explained how MAHEC Trust has utilised satellite phones to reduce maternal mortality in the sparsely populated border districts of Balochistan. The satellite phones provided to traditional birth attendants (TBAs) helped pregnant women from far-flung settlements to access hospitals and medical practitioners in a timely manner. With the phones, the female health workers could arrange transport for expecting women in an area with poor road and public transport infrastructure. “This way, not only many lives have been saved. The control over the satellite phones also empowered female health workers, many of whom are illiterate,” stated Dr Rasheeda proudly. Ms Nazima Shaheen, Project Coordinator SDPI shared further examples of ICTs’ uses for gender equality and women’s empowerment, such as in the area of marketing of women’s handicraft products via the internet or awareness-raising about water management and hygiene.
Govt set to empower women
Published: March 09, 2010
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday announced establishment of the Office of Women’s Ombudsman, 10 percent quota for females in CSS and conversion of youth development centres into working women hostels.
Addressing a function on the occasion of International Women’s Day here at the Convention Centre, Prime Minister Gilani said the Government had initiated a number of measures for the empowerment of women.
He said the National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) would be given total administrative and financial autonomy and the Government had decided to strengthen the First Women Bank to promote economic empowerment of women. The Prime Minister said the present democratic Government had an unflinching commitment to the cause of gender equality and was fully cognisant of the existing critical issues and problems being faced by the women in domestic and national life.
He said, “The Pakistan People’s Party manifesto gives high priority to empowerment of women to ensure equal rights through economic, social, legal and political measures.”
“Now the laws have been enacted for the protection of women. I have directed all concerned to implement these in letter and spirit,” he added. Gilani said the Government was taking forward the legacy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and striving to implement her vision and plans, left unfulfilled due to her untimely martyrdom. “Let me assure you that my government is determined to follow and implement, in letter and spirit, her vision of a greater and stronger Pakistan, with a literate and empowered nation, despite the challenges of extremism we are facing today.”
He pointed some of the measures taken by the Government for empowerment and said increased representation at National and Provincial Assemblies has helped political empowerment of women. He pointed that Dr. Fehmida Mirza was the only woman speaker of a House of Parliament in the Muslim World and many of the National Assembly Standing Committees were being chaired by women parliamentarians and an active Women Caucus with representation of all parties has been formed at the national level.
In the context of economic empowerment of women, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s vision has been achieved through distribution of land to landless haris, 70 percent of these beneficiaries are women.
The Prime Minister said discriminatory laws are being amended. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2009, has been enacted, whereas Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill, 2010 has been passed by the National Assembly and Senate. These legislations would serve as deterrent to the issue of harassment at workplace and provide opportunity to young women to join private and public sector without any fear.
He said a draft Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 was also in the process of enactment. Meanwhile, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centres for Women were being increased to provide immediate relief to the victims of violence.
National Policy for Development and Empowerment of Women 2002, and National Plan of Action (NPA) are being reviewed as per present situation and requirements through Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP).
“I am pleased to announce that the policy and National Plan of Action (NPA) will be presented to the Cabinet soon,” Gilani said.
Parliamentarians, female artists and women belonging to various walks of life attended the event. A documentary narrating the struggle of Pakistani women from 1947 to 2010 was screened. Female singers presented songs and renowned writers Kishwar Naheed and Fahmeeda Riaz read poems.
Hashoo Foundation seeks to empower Pakistani women
Friday, October 14, 2011
LONDON: Women in the UK have been urged in a landmark campaign to bond with needy Pakistani women to help empower them and increase their social and economic prospects.
Philanthropist and Chair of Hashoo Foundation, Sarah Hashwani made this appeal at the launch of the Hashoo Foundation’s UK Chapter launching here at a gala dinner on Wednesday night.
Sarah Hashwani announced the launch of the campaign “500 for 500”, which will focus on fundraising to help empower women living in the remote regions of Northern Pakistan.
Former UN ambassador to Pakistan Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan and Sadruddin Hashwani, Patron in Chief, were present on the occasion, with a host of special guests and dignitaries in attendance. Sarah Hashwani said: “We started work on this initiative a few weeks back and I have been amazed, delighted and touched by the level of support that the UK women have already given to the idea. We have women from all walks of life coming forward to lend their support and use their networks to engage more women.
The simplest proposition can change the lives of so many in Pakistan.”
The 500 for 500 campaign aims at inviting and engaging 500 women from the UK to join hands with 500 women in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, through the foundationís award-winning Plan Bee project, which provides women in the Northern region of Pakistan with the opportunity to become beekeepers.
It is based on a system of social barter, designed to promote social change and enhance women ability to work independently and in their spare time.
Sarah Hashwani told The News that the focus will remain to increase household incomes so that the standard of living of families could improve and they could get better access to education and health.
“We want to expand and there are so many Pakistanis here in the UK who wants to invest in Pakistan, but want a transparent organisation to contribute with comfort. We are sure we will work with fairness and will be able to utilise the money of donors in the right way.”
A number of Pakistani women have come forward to become volunteer first set of ambassadors, which include: Adeeba Malik, a business women; model and TV presenter Gulzaeb Beg; the UK’s youngest Muslim female Councillor, Rabia Bhatti; fashion designer Raishma Islam; Dr Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj, a businesswoman, broadcaster and presenter Yasmeen Khan and make-up artist Zaynab Mirza.
Pakistani women denied right to work late: World Bank
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
LAHORE: The law in Pakistan denies women the right to the same working hours as those of men by not allowing them to work late night, says World Bank’s Women Business and Law 2012 report released recently. It further says that women are barred from working in many industries and that there are no laws or constitutional provisions mandating equal pay for equal work.
The report “Removing Barriers to Economic Inclusion” further points out that there are no laws in Pakistan mandating non discrimination in hiring practices on the basis of gender. It is not illegal to ask a prospective employee about martial status during a job interview. Employees with minor children do not have any additional rights to flexible or part time work schedule, it adds. Even the payments made by working mothers for childcare are not tax free, it points out.
The report states that globally, women represent 49.6 percent of the total population, but they constitute only 40.8 percent of the total workforce in the formal sector. Differences in the way men and women are treated under the law may explain this gap, it adds. Successful lady entrepreneurs of Pakistan admit that the discrimination against fair gender is high, but things are improving.
Kiran Chaudhry, the head of a spinning mill and managing committee member of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, said there is no gender bias at least in the corporate sector. “My being female helps me as my colleagues in the same business extend full cooperation,” she said. She said the law provides equal access to credit to both genders, but somehow the fair gender is generally denied credit. “The lower education level of women is the main hindrance in this regard,” she said. Highly educated women are as successful entrepreneurs as men, she said.
Women rights activist Sofia Asif said that in all economies, married women face as many or more discrimination than unmarried women. Pakistani women in business still complain of problems that are not faced by men, she said.
President Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Samina Fazil said that domestic work takes away a lot of time and energy of women, which makes it difficult for them to run their business successfully. Women are not treated equally and the system pushes them to the back, she added.
Women as CEOs are still not as common as should be in Pakistan, she said. Even educated women in business were discouraged from contesting election in trade associations, but now there are over 70 female board members in business associations across Pakistan, she said.
The Sahiwal Chamber last year elected its first-ever female president. The vice president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a lady, she added. Naushaba Shakeel, who is associated with a financial association, deplored that women in Pakistan are generally denied permanent contracts, safe work environment, and freedom of association.
NEW DELHI: Visiting women entrepreneurs from Pakistan on Friday called for strengthening of trade and commerce with India.
The Pakistani women’s delegation said after they met here members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Ladies Organisation (FLO), Indian news agency ANI reported on Saturday.
The delegation from Pakistan, under the banner of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI), was led by fashion designer Faizaa Samee. Samee said that individual efforts need to be lent a fillip rather than blaming the governments of India and Pakistan for the bottlenecks.
“I think we really need to find out what is the right procedure that can take place. It is not just the governments that are to be blamed but it is also our lack of knowledge. That is why we can’t do it. So, we are working towards finalising procedures. We should be able to increase trade and in my opinion it should be done properly,” Samee said.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
How fast can a Pakistani woman run? Well, among other things, this mainly depends on whether she is allowed to take the field. We can be certain about her potential, though, irrespective of the burdens she carries in our socially oppressive society. Even today, there are areas in Pakistan where women are forced to live as the prisoners of a primitive way of life.
But then we also have Naseem Hameed – right now the fastest woman in South Asia. She won a gold medal in the 100-metre race in the 11th South Asian Games held in Dhaka. She was given a rousing welcome when she returned home, to Karachi, few days back. Coming almost out of nowhere, she has become a celebrity.
What we need to celebrate is not just the fact that a female Pakistani athlete has triumphed in a sporting competition. The real story here is about who she actually is and where she comes from. We should be grateful to the news channels and the manner in which they have followed this human interest story that the entire country has virtually met Naseem’s parents and seen her one-room home in Korangi.
In that sense, it rather seems like a fairytale with Naseem being the Cinderella of Korangi and an inspiration for other girls like her who belong to relatively poor families and who long to prove their abilities. The situation would have been a different one if a Pakistani female gold medalist in an athletic competition had come from a well-to-do and ‘respectable’ family, having been educated in some prestigious private institution.
It has been said that Naseem is a role model for girls of poor families. This is a valid observation. However, the genuine role models in this story are her parents. They are the ones we should know more about to understand how the almost illiterate and impoverished parents of a girl child were able to encourage her daughter to take to athletics. Her mother, particularly, comes out as a wise and courageous person.
With this celebration of Naseem’s success, attention was somewhat diverted from another female gold medalist in the South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka. Sara Nasir won her medal in Karate, another evidence of the potential of our women and how it may change their status in society. Still, I think that Naseem’s example is more inspiring and socially momentous. She has risen from the depth of poverty and social injustice.
Pakistani women diplomats shine in Europe
Saturday, March 08, 2008 ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Women diplomats are steadily gaining prominence in key world capitals, most notably in the European bloc where they hold key positions in leading EU member states.
A survey of the current postings of women officers belonging to the elite Foreign Service of Pakistan conducted by ‘The News’ shows that they are not only in charge of a couple of important divisions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but are also heading major diplomatic missions abroad.
According to the information obtained from the ministry at present 11 women diplomats are serving as ambassadors in key world capitals. Nine of these are in European countries including the UK, France, Italy and Spain. The remaining two are posted in Mexico and Zimbabwe.
Another career officer, Seema Naqvi, at present DG policy planning at the headquarters, has also been given green light for her first ambassadorial assignment in Egypt recently. One reason for the unprecedented number of women envoys is that a large number of these officers have reached the level of seniority required for ambassadorial posts.
However, credit is also due to foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan, his predecessor Riaz Khokhar, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and President Pervez Musharraf for recognising the talent and ensuring impartiality in nominations and appointments for key diplomatic positions.
With the exception of one political appointee, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, a journalist-turned-diplomat, posted as High Commissioner to UK, all other serving Pakistani women envoys belong to the Foreign Service. Nonetheless, Ms Lodhi is recognised and acknowledged as an accomplished professional who also has the rare distinction of being Pakistan’s longest serving ambassador to the US.
The names and countries of posting of the ten women envoys from the Foreign Service cadre are: Ms Fauzia Abbas, ambassador to Denmark; Ms Asma Anisa, ambassador to France; Ms Tasnim Aslam, ambassador to Italy; Ms Naghmana Hashmi, ambassador to Ireland; Ms Zehra Akbari, ambassador to Mexico; Mrs Seema Illahi Baloch, ambassador to Poland; Mrs Fauzia Sana, ambassador to Portugal; Ms Ayesha Riyaz, ambassador to Switzerland; Mrs Humaira Hasan, ambassador to Spain; and Ms Riffat Iqbal, ambassador to Zimbabwe.
All of them are known for their competence and commitment. It is on merit that these senior women diplomats are where they are today, a fact their colleagues acknowledge unequivocally.
Ms Tasnim Aslam who ably served as the Foreign Office spokesperson for two years till October 2007 was the last woman career officer to be given an ambassadorial assignment in a European country. Just as Ms Aslam was the first woman bureaucrat to be given additional charge of the high profile post of Foreign Office spokesperson as director-general of the UN and the OIC, she became the first Pakistani woman diplomat to be appointed as ambassador to Italy, one of the more challenging posts in Europe. “It is for substance, not soft image that we are sending her as ambassador,” former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri had declared in response to the Italian ambassador’s remark at her farewell dinner in Islamabad that Ms Tasnim Aslam would project the ‘soft image’ of Pakistan.
Another outstanding career officer posted in Europe is Ms Tehmina Janjua who is the Deputy Permanent Representative to Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva. Also, in The Hague Mission Ms Kehkeshan Azhar occupies the number two slot.
A Pakistani diplomat who heads a key mission in Europe when asked for the reason for posting of the majority of top Pakistani women diplomats in Europe his response was: “Most of our women envoys are posted in Europe because they are more sophisticated, well-educated and know the languages. They are very capable professionals who have made it on their own.”
In the recent past Pakistani women diplomats heading foreign missions have been caught in crisis situations in host countries but remained steadfast. In the face of adversity and most difficult challenges on the diplomatic front they proved their mettle. At the peak of Israeli military aggression against Lebanon in 2006 it was Ms Asma Anisa, Pakistan’s then ambassador in Beirut who held the fort there against all odds.
Earlier, Pakistan saw Dr Maleeeha Lodhi managing its diplomacy in Washington after the 9/11 in the US and London after the 7/11 in the UK, both of which put Pakistan under tremendous diplomatic pressure. When the massacre of the Royal family took place in Nepal again it was a woman ambassador there — Ms Fauzia Nasreen. And in 1989 during the turmoil of revolution in Romania, former ambassador Durray Shahwar Kureshi played a key role as the second-in-command at the Pakistan mission there.
Top Hierarchy: Also at the Foreign Ministry headquarters there are some promising signals as regards women officers.
The appointment of two senior women officers as additional foreign secretaries, Ms Attiya Mehmud, head of the Americas Division, and Ms Shireen Moiz, in charge of administration, is another first at the Foreign Office.
According to the latest data obtained by ‘The News’, 47 of the 380 currently serving officers are women. Simply put one out of every eight officers is a woman. This is a slight improvement from the last year’s figure when one out of every nine officers at the ministry was a woman. Pakistan Foreign Service opened to women only in 1973 as a result of the 1972 Administrative Reforms.
However, the role of Pakistani women in diplomacy dates back to 1952 when Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan became the first woman to be appointed as ambassador. She served as Representative of Pakistan to the 7th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Ra’ana Liaquat was the first Asian woman to receive the United Nations Human Rights award. At present Pakistan has 107 foreign diplomatic missions abroad including consulates and embassies. The total number of serving ambassadors is 85.
Pakistani women striving for visibility, power in media Saturday, January 03, 2009
‘Uks,’ a research, resource and publication centre on women and media, launched its diary for 2009 with the title, ‘Women of Pakistan: striving for visibility and power in the media.’
Welcoming everyone, Director ‘Uks’, Tasneem Ahmer, said the launch of the diary had been delayed because she had not been satisfied with what she and her team had produced so they spent some more time on gathering more information, which was hard to come by. She said the diary is a tribute to women who despite enormous constraints have continued to be part of the media and proved themselves, as working journalists and thorough professionals. While many women were (and some still are) restricted to fashion, entertainment, cookery and beauty pages in the early years, there were some who went straight to reporting and writing on important issues. Many women journalists fought against General Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorial regime with their bold writings not only providing an insight into current events but also highlighting the human side of the news. Today many fearless women journalists are continuing their struggle against oppression, injustice and inequality. Adding that the diary is also a tribute to the growing number of young women whom one sees, hears and reads of covering hard core political and economic happenings, who are making their presence felt.
Kaniz Fatima said she had a difficult time convincing her bosses when she joined Radio Pakistan way back in the 80’s that she was capable of reporting events other than those, which dealt with women’s affairs. Persisting in achieving her goal, she eventually managed to persuade them to report on
current affairs and sports and so began a career in which she had to prove herself time and again.
She is the first woman to become in charge of a station.
It was a good, informal interactive session, with Urdu as the main language of communication and the cosy atmosphere of the ‘Uks’ office lending itself to making everyone feel at ease. It was so nice to meet colleagues we had not met for a long time and as the three speakers emphasised, gatherings such as this need to be held more often.
Pakistani Women Media Network launched Saturday, May 17, 2008 Islamabad
Aiming to bring together women working in print and electronic media on to one platform, the Uks Research Centre launched Pakistani Women Media Network (PWMN) on Friday.
Introducing the project, Uks Director Tasneem Ahmer said that PWMN project was the result of Uks’s decade-long struggle for fair and sensitive reporting on women’s issues.
She said that the idea of forming the PWMN was crystallised in 2003 during the conceptualisation of ‘A gender Sensitive Code of Ethics for Print Media in Pakistan that addressed journalists’ code and ethics for gender-just reporting.
Highlighting the objectives behind launching the project, Tasneem said that it would address a number of issues with specific focus on factors behind the under-representation of women in the media and their absence at the decision-making level. “This will be a part of Uks’s daily and regular media monitoring aimed at ensuring a fair and equal representation of women working in the media,” she explained.
She said that the forum would encourage induction of more women in journalism and would work for provision of better environment and facilities for them. “The forum will also lead to positive and equal coverage for women,” she said.
Civil society activist Tahira Abdullah drew the attention of the participants towards the negative projection of women in the advertising sector. “Women are portrayed as a marketing object and there is a need to work in this direction,” she pointed out.
Television anchorperson Asma Shirazi said that women had to work harder than men to prove themselves. “There is so much discouragement, women have to face in this field and most of the new lot is given specific assignments related to women issues, fashion and art thus keeping them aside from hardcore journalism,” she added.
She said that women professionals should not expect encouragement and praises from the society for moving ahead. “If you are talented, no one can stop you form rising in your profession,” she said.
1. Latin American women have a saying: “Without women, rights are not human”
2. In Pakistan, we have a saying that men and women are the two wheels of a cart;
but if one wheel is damaged or weak the cart cannot make progress; and if one is
actually punctured all you will end up doing in trying to drive forward is to go
round and round in circles.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN PAKISTAN
RURAL WOMEN AT WORK
West always raise fingers on suppressed women rights in Pakistan but before discussing whether women have the rights or not in Pakistan we should first understand that what actually the rights of women are.
The term women right refers to freedoms and entitlements of women and girls of all ages. These rights may or may not be institutionalized…
Pakistan is an Islamic society in which most of the practices are according to Islamic teaching and Islam has given equal rights to both men and women, whether it’s property or society in the eyes of Islam all humans are equal.
Islam has given equal right to women in getting education and the most important right that Islam has given to women is that the women can not get married without asking her will and consent.
Unfortunately in Pakistani society where we call ourselves Muslims but we are the one who are far away from Islamic teaching. Orally we all can say that we are Muslim but practically we are living our lives with out practicing Islamic teaching. If we want to discusses the rights of women in Pakistani society than it is divided into two categories.
WOMEN IN URBAN SOCIETY OF PAKISTAN
In 21st century women in urban society of Pakistan carries all rights, majority of women are getting education, working in different field of there interest side by side with men.
Women in Pakistan are now working on the post of CEO’S, GT pilot, high post in Banks, doctors, engineer and what not women are free to go in any field now and complete her dream without any fear.
Urban side of Pakistani is not anymore backward, urban areas women are said to be called the super women they are not behind men in performing their responsibilities.
Urbanization contribute much in adopting change in Pakistani society and with change the most important thing that happened is change in mind set of parents who previously considered their daughters as burdens but now its not like that anymore and due to parents encouragement and support women are working side by side with men and sharing the burden of society as equal partner.
Trend of early marriages is changing due to alteration in parents’ mindset. Now parents give their daughters the chance to live their life with freedom but in limits and in my point of view limit are very important for protecting the values and norms of our society.
Young girls in urban areas of Pakistan have passion to do something in their lives, to make their own identity stand on their own feet’s and do not become burden on parents after completing education. Most of the girls are working in different fields and trend is changing that girl can only adopt the profession of medicine is not any more.
Urban women are enjoying their rights although they have to face difficulties in work places, buses and from some conservative mindset people but all women are ready to cross all obstacles coming in there way of success and they all count these difficulties as minor problems. Women of urban areas do not think that what others are saying for them and they are on their way to success.
The rising inflation contributes much in women empowerment and now women are working to support their families in this time of inflation. It is not the time that one person can earn the bread for the whole family and remain dependent but now women are sharing the burden equally with men. In urban areas women are performing all duties with full responsibility and now society starts giving credit for all the achievement today women are doing. Pakistani working women try to balance between work and her family.
Because family is Allah blessing and to unite the family and look after for its need is the responsibility of women and because of them only family system in Pakistan is much stronger. In my point of view Pakistani women should be the best example for others that how to maintain balance between work and family which is necessary for making healthier and organized society.
WOMEN IN RURAL SOCIETY OF PAKISTAN
Pakistan rural areas are in hold of so called Zamindar, Jagirdars, Feudal lords who suppressed the rights of women and considered them as their property.
Rural women are working in fields along with men and doing all household work but despite of all the sacrifices and contribution she carries no right and has no share in anything and her life remain property of men who are dominant member of society.
Women in rural areas of Pakistan are in worst condition may be there are 10 percent of women enjoying their rights but I am talking about remaining 80 percent of women those rights have been suppressed sometime on name of prestige, her life have been sacrificed on the name of honor killing and other illegal customs which have no place in Islamic teaching and are man made rules for women and make their life like hell. These women have no education nothing they are fully dependents on their men and this is the reason that they can not raise their voice against any injustice done with them and if they will be educated than they can say no to the violence and cruelty done with them on the name of so called manhood.
Rural men think that if they do not suppressed the rights of women and hold their lives in their hands than how they can say themselves that we are MEN and he has all the right to crushed the rights of women under her feet because women has given the right to them to do injustice with them because they feed them and give shelter for living.
May be some of my readers will be against me that it is not true and if it is wrong than what about the case of Mukhtara Mai she was gang raped, Tasleem Sulangi and all such thousands of women killed on the name of honor are buried in Kari Graveyard built to give lesson to other women that not to think about living life according to your own will, and never raise voice in front of men for your rights and if some one did so than this Kari Graveyard will be your final destination.
Whatever Taliban government was doing with women of Rural areas were totally against Islamic teaching because Islam have given all rights to women and such illiterate people who want to dominate are using the name of Islam for fulfilling their evil designs.
Islam is such a religion in which women respect is so important that it can be proved from the saying of Prophet Muhammad that “PARADISE LIES UNDER MOTHER FEET”
Lastly I can only say that women respect is necessary from every aspect and they should be given equal rights whether it’s Pakistani society or western. West instead of raising finger on violated rights of women in Pakistan should contribute its share in raising the standard of living of rural women built schools for them so that they all get education, vocational training should be established which can groom the inner abilities and provide the opportunities of earning to women of rural areas. In my point of view lack of earning opportunities and education is the main cause of violation of women rights. If women will be empowered then next coming generation will be educated and women can feel secure and can raise their voice against their rights without hesitation and fear.
So this proves that women empowerment is very important for the progress of a country and nation.
Fizza for women role in industrial growth
Published: October 10, 2011
MULTAN (APP) – Goodwill ambassador for women’s rights and PM’s daughter Syeda Fizza Batool Gilani has said South Punjab Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SPWCCI) could play a pivotal role in maximizing skilled women’s contribution to industrial growth and overall national development.
South Punjab Embroidery Institute and Khaddi Crafts Development projects were being completed under Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani’s visionary initiative of ‘Village Product Specialization’ aimed at appreciating skills of the women and for their empowerment, said Fizza Gilani while addressing the office bearers of SPWCCI and women entrepreneurs at the local circuit house. First Lady, the wife of Prime Minister Begum Fozia Gilani also graced the occasion as the guest of honour.
Fizza Gilani said that active participation of skilled women in export-oriented manufacturing of novel and traditional items would not only be a substantial support to the national economy but also give financial freedom to women. She said that empowerment of women could be helpful in tackling problems including poverty, terrorism and other social issues.
SPWCCI president Masooma Sibtain, general secretary Filza Mumtaz and begum Farrukh Mukhtar also spoke on the occasion.
The First Lady Begum Fozia Yusuf Raza Gilani distributed shields and certificates among the best performing women entrepreneurs.
You recently recommended that the World Bank and other development agencies should concentrate on economic growth rather than “fretting” about gender. You argue that if growth occurs, gender disparities will disappear. This is not correct. Detailed research has shown otherwise. If economic growth were the main issue, why is child malnutrition in South Asia worse than in poorer Sub-Saharan Africa? Research has demonstrated that the low status of women in South Asia contributes to the high rates of child malnutrition in the region.
Across the rich world more women are working than ever before. Coping with this change will be one of the great challenges of the coming decades
Dec 30th 2009 | from the print edition
Correction to this article
THE economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. It is remarkable because of the extent of the change: millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates. It is remarkable also because it has produced so little friction: a change that affects the most intimate aspects of people’s identities has been widely welcomed by men as well as women. Dramatic social change seldom takes such a benign form.
Yet even benign change can come with a sting in its tail. Social arrangements have not caught up with economic changes. Many children have paid a price for the rise of the two-income household. Many women—and indeed many men—feel that they are caught in an ever-tightening tangle of commitments. If the empowerment of women was one of the great changes of the past 50 years, dealing with its social consequences will be one of the great challenges of the next 50.
In this section
At the end of her campaign to become America’s first female president in 2008, Hillary Clinton remarked that her 18m votes in the Democratic Party’s primaries represented 18m cracks in the glass ceiling. In the market for jobs rather than votes the ceiling is being cracked every day. Women now make up almost half of American workers (49.9% in October).
They run some of the world’s best companies, such as PepsiCo, Archer Daniels Midland and W.L. Gore. They earn almost 60% of university degrees in America and Europe.
Progress has not been uniform, of course. In Italy and Japan employment rates for men are more than 20 percentage points higher than those for women (see chart 1).
Although Italy’s female employment rate has risen markedly in the past decade, it is still below 50%, and more than 20 percentage points below those of Denmark and Sweden (chart 2).
Women earn substantially less than men on average and are severely under-represented at the top of organisations.
The change is dramatic nevertheless. A generation ago working women performed menial jobs and were routinely subjected to casual sexism—as “Mad Men”, a television drama about advertising executives in the early 1960s, demonstrates brilliantly. Today women make up the majority of professional workers in many countries (51% in the United States, for example) and casual sexism is for losers. Even holdouts such as the Mediterranean countries are changing rapidly. In Spain the proportion of young women in the labour force has now reached American levels. The glass is much nearer to being half full than half empty.
What explains this revolution? Politics have clearly played a part. Feminists such as Betty Friedan have demonised domestic slavery and lambasted discrimination. Governments have passed equal-rights acts. Female politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and Mrs Clinton have taught younger women that anything is possible. But politics is only part of the answer: such discordant figures as Ms Friedan and Lady Thatcher have been borne aloft by subterranean economic and technological forces.
The rich world has seen a growing demand for women’s labour. When brute strength mattered more than brains, men had an inherent advantage. Now that brainpower has triumphed the two sexes are more evenly matched. The feminisation of the workforce has been driven by the relentless rise of the service sector (where women can compete as well as men) and the equally relentless decline of manufacturing (where they could not).
The landmark book in the rise of feminism was arguably not Ms Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” but Daniel Bell’s “The Coming of Post-Industrial Society”.
Demand has been matched by supply: women are increasingly willing and able to work outside the home. The vacuum cleaner has played its part. Improved technology reduced the amount of time needed for the traditional female work of cleaning and cooking. But the most important innovation has been the contraceptive pill. The spread of the pill has not only allowed women to get married later. It has also increased their incentives to invest time and effort in acquiring skills, particularly slow-burning skills that are hard to learn and take many years to pay off. The knowledge that they would not have to drop out of, say, law school to have a baby made law school more attractive.
The expansion of higher education has also boosted job prospects for women, improving their value on the job market and shifting their role models from stay-at-home mothers to successful professional women. The best-educated women have always been more likely than other women to work, even after having children. In 1963, 62% of college-educated women in the United States were in the labour force, compared with 46% of those with a high school diploma. Today 80% of American women with a college education are in the labour force compared with 67% of those with a high school diploma and 47% of those without one.
This growing cohort of university-educated women is also educated in more marketable subjects. In 1966, 40% of American women who received a BA specialised in education in college; 2% specialised in business and management. The figures are now 12% and 50%. Women only continue to lag seriously behind men in a handful of subjects, such as engineering and computer sciences, where they earned about one-fifth of degrees in 2006.
One of the most surprising things about this revolution is how little overt celebration it has engendered. Most people welcome the change. A recent Rockefeller Foundation/Time survey found that three-quarters of Americans regarded it as a positive development. Nine men out of ten said they were comfortable with women earning more than them. But few are cheering. This is partly because young women take their opportunities for granted. It is partly because for many women work represents economic necessity rather than liberation. The rich world’s growing army of single mothers have little choice but to work. A growing proportion of married women have also discovered that the only way they can preserve their households’ living standards is to join their husbands in the labour market. In America families with stay-at-home wives have the same inflation-adjusted income as similar families did in the early 1970s. But the biggest reason is that the revolution has brought plenty of problems in its wake.
Production versus reproduction
One obvious problem is that women’s rising aspirations have not been fulfilled. They have been encouraged to climb onto the occupational ladder only to discover that the middle rungs are dominated by men and the upper rungs are out of reach. Only 2% of the bosses of Fortune 500 companies and five of those in the FTSE 100 stockmarket index are women. Women make up less than 13% of board members in America. The upper ranks of management consultancies and banks are dominated by men. In America and Britain the typical full-time female worker earns only about 80% as much as the typical male.
This no doubt owes something to prejudice. But the biggest reason why women remain frustrated is more profound: many women are forced to choose between motherhood and careers. Childless women in corporate America earn almost as much as men. Mothers with partners earn less and single mothers much less. The cost of motherhood is particularly steep for fast-track women. Traditionally “female” jobs such as teaching mix well with motherhood because wages do not rise much with experience and hours are relatively light. But at successful firms wages rise steeply and schedules are demanding. Future bosses are expected to have worked in several departments and countries. Professional-services firms have an up-or-out system which rewards the most dedicated with lucrative partnerships. The reason for the income gap may thus be the opposite of prejudice. It is that women are judged by exactly the same standards as men.
This Hobson’s choice is imposing a high cost on both individuals and society. Many professional women reject motherhood entirely; in Switzerland 40% of them are childless. Others delay child-bearing for so long that they are forced into the arms of the booming fertility industry. Some choose not to work at all, representing a loss to collective investment in talent. But a choice must be made. A study of graduates of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business by Marianne Bertrand and her colleagues found that, ten to 16 years after graduating, just over half of those who had chosen to have children were working full-time. About a quarter were working part-time and just under a quarter had left the labour force. It also leaves many former high-flyers frustrated. Another American study, this time of women who left work to have children, found that all but 7% of them wanted to return to work. Only 74% managed to return, and just 40% returned to full-time jobs.
Even well-off parents worry that they spend too little time with their children, thanks to crowded schedules and the ever-buzzing BlackBerry. For poorer parents, juggling the twin demands of work and child-rearing can be a nightmare. Child care eats a terrifying proportion of the family budget, and many childminders are untrained. But quitting work to look after the children can mean financial disaster. British children brought up in two-parent families where only one parent works are almost three times more likely to be poor than children with two parents at work.
A survey for the Children’s Society, a British charity, found that 60% of parents agreed that “nowadays parents aren’t able to spend enough time with their children”. In a similar survey in America 74% of parents said that they did not have enough time for their children. Nor does the problem disappear as children get older. In most countries schools finish early in the afternoon. In America they close down for two months in the summer. Only a few places—Denmark, Sweden and, to a lesser extent, France and Quebec—provide comprehensive systems of after-school care.
Different countries have adopted different solutions to the problem of combining work and parenthood. Some stress the importance of very young children spending time with their mothers. Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Hungary provide up to three years of paid leave for mothers. Germany has introduced a “parent’s salary”, or Elterngeld, to encourage mothers to stay at home. (The legislation was championed by a minister for women who has seven children.) Other countries put more emphasis on preschool education. New Zealand and the Nordic countries are particularly keen on getting women back to work and children into kindergartens. Britain, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and, above all, the Netherlands are keen on mothers working part-time. Others, such as the Czech Republic, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Portugal and South Korea, make little room for part-time work for women. The Scandinavian countries, particularly Iceland, have added a further wrinkle by increasing incentives for fathers to spend more time caring for their children.
The world’s biggest economy has adopted an idiosyncratic approach. America provides no statutory paid leave for mothers and only 12 weeks unpaid. At least 145 countries provide paid sick leave. America allows only unpaid absence for serious family illness. America’s public spending on family support is low by OECD standards (see chart 3).
It spends only 0.5% of its GDP on public support for child care compared with 1.3% in France and 2.7% in Denmark.
It is difficult to evaluate the relative merits of these various arrangements. Different systems can produce similar results: anti-statist America has roughly the same proportion of children in kindergartens as statist Finland. Different systems have different faults. Sweden is not quite the paragon that its fans imagine, despite its family-friendly employment policies. Only 1.5% of senior managers are women, compared with 11% in America. Three-quarters of Swedish women work in the public sector; three-quarters of men work in the private sector. But there is evidence that America and Britain, the countries that combine high female employment with reluctance to involve the state in child care, serve their children especially poorly. A report by Unicef in 2007 on children in rich countries found that America and Britain had some of the lowest scores for “well-being”.
A woman’s world
The trend towards more women working is almost certain to continue. In the European Union women have filled 6m of the 8m new jobs created since 2000. In America three out of four people thrown out of work since the recession began are men; the female unemployment rate is 8.6%, against 11.2% for men. The Bureau of Labour Statistics calculates that women make up more than two-thirds of employees in ten of the 15 job categories likely to grow fastest in the next few years. By 2011 there will be 2.6m more women than men studying in American universities.
Women will also be the beneficiaries of the growing “war for talent”. The combination of an ageing workforce and a more skill-dependent economy means that countries will have to make better use of their female populations. Goldman Sachs calculates that, leaving all other things equal, increasing women’s participation in the labour market to male levels will boost GDP by 21% in Italy, 19% in Spain, 16% in Japan, 9% in America, France and Germany, and 8% in Britain.
The next generationRex Features
The corporate world is doing ever more to address the loss of female talent and the difficulty of combining work with child care. Many elite companies are rethinking their promotion practices. Addleshaw Goddard, a law firm, has created the role of legal director as an alternative to partnerships for women who want to combine work and motherhood. Ernst & Young and other accounting firms have increased their efforts to maintain connections with women who take time off to have children and then ease them back into work.
Home-working is increasingly fashionable. More than 90% of companies in Germany and Sweden allow flexible working. A growing number of firms are learning to divide the working week in new ways—judging staff on annual rather than weekly hours, allowing them to work nine days a fortnight, letting them come in early or late and allowing husbands and wives to share jobs. Almost half of Sun Microsystems’s employees work at home or from nearby satellite offices. Raytheon, a maker of missile systems, allows workers every other Friday off to take care of family business, if they make up the hours on other days.
Companies are even rethinking the structure of careers, as people live and work longer. Barclays is one of many firms that allow five years’ unpaid leave. John Lewis offers a six-month paid sabbatical to people who have been in the company for 25 years. Companies are allowing people to phase their retirement. Child-bearing years will thus make up a smaller proportion of women’s potential working lives. Spells out of the labour force will become less a mark of female exceptionalism.
Faster change is likely as women exploit their economic power. Many talented women are already hopping off the corporate treadmill to form companies that better meet their needs. In the past decade the number of privately owned companies started by women in America has increased twice as fast as the number owned by men. Women-owned companies employ more people than the largest 500 companies combined. Eden McCallum and Axiom Legal have applied a network model to their respective fields of management consultancy and legal services: network members work when it suits them and the companies use their scale to make sure that clients have their problems dealt with immediately.
Governments are also trying to adjust to the new world. Germany now has 1,600 schools where the day lasts until mid-afternoon. Some of the most popular American charter schools offer longer school days and shorter summer holidays.
But so far even the combination of public- and private-sector initiatives has only gone so far to deal with the problem. The children of poorer working mothers are the least likely to benefit from female-friendly companies. Millions of families still struggle with insufficient child-care facilities and a school day that bears no relationship to their working lives. The West will be struggling to cope with the social consequences of women’s economic empowerment for many years to come.
Women in China
The sky’s the limit
But it’s not exactly heaven
Nov 26th 2011 | from the print edition
PULLY CHAU SPENT eight years working for the Chinese office of a big international advertising agency and never got a pay rise; there was always some excuse. “It was stupid of me not to ask,” she says. “If I had been a Caucasian man, I would have done better.” She stuck around because she liked the idea of working for an outfit that was well known in China and hoped to learn something. Eventually she got fed up and took a job with another Western agency, draftfcb, where she is now chairman and CEO for Greater China, based in Shanghai. Just turned 50, glamorous, confident and boundlessly energetic, she could pick and choose from any number of jobs. There are lots of opportunities for women in China, she says—but in business life is still easier for men.
Women make up 49% of China’s population and 46% of its labour force, a higher proportion than in many Western countries. In large part that is because Mao Zedong, who famously said that “women hold up half the sky”, saw them as a resource and launched a campaign to get them to work outside the home. China is generally reckoned to be more open to women than other East Asian countries, with Taiwan somewhat behind, South Korea further back and Japan the worst. And its women expect to be taken seriously; as one Chinese female investment banker in Beijing puts it, “we do not come across as deferential”.
In this special report
* Closing the gap
* The cashier and the carpenter
* A world of bluestockings
* Baby blues
* Too many suits
* »The sky’s the limit
* Here’s to the next half-century
Sources & acknowledgementsReprints
* Emerging markets
Young Chinese women have been moving away from the countryside in droves and piling into the electronics factories in the booming coastal belt, leading dreary lives but earning more money than their parents ever dreamed of. Others have been pouring into universities, at home and abroad, and graduating in almost the same numbers as men. And once they have negotiated China’s highly competitive education system, they want to get on a career ladder and start climbing. The opportunities are there. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, who runs a consultancy, 20-first, that helps companies improve the balance between the sexes in senior jobs, points out that China already has a higher proportion of women in the top layers of management than many Western countries.
The supply of female talent is abundant, says Jin Yu, a partner with McKinsey in Beijing and their most senior woman in China, but once you start funnelling it the numbers come down. She also concedes that there is room for improvement in the way that Chinese companies nurture potential female leaders. The same goes for the Chinese body politic: only 13 of the 204 members elected at the most recent meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee (its top decision-making body) were women.
Jobs with state-owned companies are popular with Chinese women because at lower levels these are relatively comfortable places to work, with shorter and more predictable hours than in the private sector. But attitudes remain highly conservative and very few women are found in the upper echelons. Wendy (not her real name), a well-qualified woman in her 40s with an MBA, holds down a senior job at China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s largest integrated oil and gas company, but complains that women suffer from discrimination both in her company and her industry. She has had to do a lot of travelling to places like Libya, Sudan and Pakistan and blames her recent divorce on the demands of the job. “You have to give up a lot” to maintain your position at work in a company like hers, she says. After her divorce she applied for a lower-level post with less punishing hours so she could spend more time with her 12-year-old daughter. But she is already studying for her next qualification and plans to go back on the fast track once her daughter is older so she can send her to study in Britain. “Chinese women have a very difficult life,” she says.
Many female high-fliers in China find it easier to work for a multinational. Iris Kang, who heads the business unit for emerging markets at Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, used to be a doctor in a state-owned hospital but switched to the private sector after a visit to Nepal, where she developed a taste for the capitalist system. She says there is less sex discrimination in multinationals than in Chinese companies, and the number of women in senior posts in her firm is rising rapidly.
Hers is another tale of relentless self-improvement. Soon after she joined the private sector she took an executive MBA at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China’s most highly rated business school, and last year she added a Masters degree in pharmaceutical medicine, all the while heading a team of 120 people in her job with Pfizer. As Ms Kang says, to succeed as a woman in China “you need to be better than a man.”
That goes for female entrepreneurs, too. China has plenty: over 29m of them at the latest count, or a quarter of the national total, according to Meng Xiaosi, vice-president of the All-China Women’s Federation. And some strike it very rich: seven of the 14 women on last year’s Forbes worldwide list of self-made billionaires were from China, with property magnates particularly prominent. China is growing so fast that there are plenty of opportunities for start-ups and less red tape than in more mature economies, and finance is less of a problem than in the West.
There is room for improvement in the way that Chinese companies nurture potential female leaders. The same goes for the Chinese body politic
It is hard to see how these formidable Chinese women can fit any children into their impossibly busy lives, but most of them do. They are entitled to (but don’t always get) three months’ paid maternity leave and mostly return to work afterwards. That is made a little easier by one big advantage they have over most working women in the West: hands-on grandparents. The older generation has traditionally played a large part in bringing up children in China, and still does. A baby is often farmed out to the grandparents for the first few years of its life, or the grandparents come to live in the family home to look after it. If no grandparents are available, nannies are plentiful and affordable.
Most of these women seem to stop at one offspring, not only because of the one-child policy (which can be quite leaky) but because any more would be just too difficult to manage. Even looking after the one-and-only takes up a huge amount of time and resources. The whole business of child-rearing has become exhaustingly competitive.
Precious in every way
Grooming the little emperors
It starts at kindergarten, which may be of the Monday-to-Friday boarding variety, and can get very expensive even at that level: the best ones are vastly oversubscribed, and although they are state-run, you hear stories about parents being asked for “sponsorship” of up to 200,000 yuan ($32,000) to get in. After that the child has to be manoeuvred into the best school, homework needs to be closely supervised and there is a lot of ferrying around for after-school activities. Steering a child through all this almost amounts to a full-time job. The effort culminates in the gaokao, the national college-entrance exam that determines which, if any, university the youngster can get into.
What makes life even harder for Chinese women is that most Chinese men still expect them to look after home and family more or less single-handed, whether or not they are holding down a job. That includes caring for elderly parents or relatives, so it does not stop when the children grow up. These are deep-rooted, hard-to-shift attitudes that long pre-date the Mao era. Many Chinese men find it psychologically hard to cope with high-earning wives, and if something has to give it is usually the wife’s job. Women who are too stridently successful may have trouble finding a husband in the first place. Even China’s female high achievers are now beginning to wonder if they are doing the right thing. In their recent book “Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets”, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid note that “the concept of work-life balance, once foreign…is an increasingly popular topic of conversation.”
It has already become more acceptable for a woman not to be working, says Helene Zhuge, CEO of bon-tv, a private television network broadcasting from China to the world. If her husband has a good job, or she has money of her own, she can now be a stay-at-home wife without incurring social disapproval. According to Ms Zhuge, this is part of a broader movement over the past few years towards greater social liberalism in China. In the big cities it is now fine for a couple to live together without being married; divorce is getting more common; and being gay is no big deal. But having children out of wedlock is still unusual because the bureaucratic complications are horrendous
Only 24.2 per cent of women who head their households are employed, as compared to 84.2 per cent of similarly placed men.Employed males who head their households earn almost 149 per cent more than their female counterparts. Rural women run their homes at or below subsistence level, with a monthly expenditure level of Rs10,491, while the comparative figure is Rs14,254 for households headed by men.Poverty was estimated through a snapshot based on income-consumption patterns. A higher incidence of poverty was witnessed in households headed by women. Of 804 such households surveyed, 44.15 per cent were found to be living below the poverty line of Rs1,286.92 per capita per month compared to 34.95 per cent households headed by men. Rural poverty is more intense for both types of households.A larger number of households headed by women exhibited a significant incidence of food poverty. In all income categories, a higher percentage of such households went without a single meal as compared to households headed by men. In rural areas, the situation is more alarming. Food composition is also an indicator of food poverty and the level of nutrition. Over 94 per cent of households headed by women in the lowest-income category in urban, and 87 per cent in rural, areas did not consume meat throughout the week. These figures are similar for households headed by men. The percentages are higher in terms of fruit consumption.
In determining the standard of living, affordability of user charges for social services is a major factor. Close to 80 per cent of the households headed by women in the lowest income group cannot afford education compared to 62.4 per cent of those headed by men. Over 40 per cent female-headed households cannot afford health-related expenses compared with 18 per cent of those headed by men. With more women unable to spend on food, education and health, there is a continuous and never-ending cycle of poverty, illiteracy and poor health. Such households are far more vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances.The high vulnerability of households headed by women is also evidenced by women’s lack of ownership of assets. Despite the recognition of inheritance rights by Islam and under the Pakistan constitution, women remain deprived of these rights. Asset distribution is considered an intra-family decision and women are either unwilling or unable to seek judicial redress.Another key aspect of the study revolved around empowerment and decision-making power. Findings show that women do not exercise their will even if they head their homes, largely because of the ingrained societal patriarchal system. Almost half are not permitted to purchase items of daily use, 30 per cent in urban and 40 per cent in rural areas are not empowered to decide on the sale and purchase of assets, and 17.5 per cent in urban and 24 per cent in rural areas cannot take decisions related to seeking health services.The study concludes that households headed by women are poorer and more vulnerable in the four key variables that determine human wellbeing at the basic level: income, food expenditure, ownership of assets and empowerment.Generally, development policies should be pro-poor and long-term steps need to be taken to ensure the poor are targeted for social benefits. It is important to ensure the safe transfer of resources to households headed by women that are at higher level of risk and vulnerability through a public-private partnership model. The extremely poor quality of social services, particularly in rural areas, and the apathy of the officials concerned is disproportionately affecting households headed by women. Health and education services need to be taken to the more disadvantaged groups on an emergency basis.
The ratio seems unbelievable: according to a US study, the proportion of men and women in Pakistan is 111 men per 100 women — fully 11 men more for every 100 women. This makes it one of the most unequal and unusual sex ratios in the world.This discrepancy is particularly obvious among people over 50, where men account for 7.1 per cent of the country’s total population, and women for less than five per cent, apparently reflecting the fact that women are dying in much larger numbers at younger ages (or that their births and deaths are not always documented).
The figure also reflects their lack of access to quality medical care.It can be argued that the inverse ratio is at least partially responsible for the prevalent negative attitudes and mindset towards women, their secondary status, and the continuation of laws and policies that negate women’s personhood and rights. The reasons for the anomalous ratio need to be probed, including those that impact women’s lives.Only two other countries in the world have similar inverse sex ratios — India and China. Like Pakistan, they too have a marked preference for sons, considered a prime reason for high population growth. Pakistan’s own data states that the overall sex ratio is 102 men per 100 women, which the publication itself considers implausibly high, attributing it to a tendency to under-report women.
Female workers are more likely to be full-time workers in all farm sizes in NWFP (89.54%) and Sindh (74,36%).
Punjab shows an almost equal division between full-time workers (55.6%) and part-time workers, while in Balochistan 82.84…