Pakistan: women's quest for entitlement

Article Date: 
9 Apr 2009

The emancipation of women is often linked to the progress of a society in transformation from a feudal society to a modern state. The story of women in the country that became Pakistan can indeed be told in such terms: as part of a struggle for advancement with education at its centre, and linked at critical moments to wider goals of national emancipation and social reform.

During the past thirty years, however, the quest for women's rights in the context of such reform has been under increasing pressure from a trend toward state-sponsored Islamisation. This trend, which began under the authoritarian rule of Zia ul-Haq (who seized power in a military coup in 1977), is symbolised by the punitive flogging of a young woman in the newly Talibanised region of Swat. The fighting ground, it appears, is always women's space.

Article Author: 
Pippa Virdee
Article Source: 
Open Democracy