In recent years, I’ve seen quite a lot of improvements for women. Looking back twenty years, we can be happy that we have come a long way. Now we have to work towards more improvements in coming years.
This post is about what needs to be done to achieve a better world for over fifty percent of the population, the women of our country.
Men and women must work together:
First, we must stand united among ourselves, in finding the best ways to improve lives for women. In this, our men folk too, need to help us in whatever we can achieve. The fact remains that they wouldn’t have achieved anything without our help either. Remember the food they eat on a daily basis is cooked by us! ? So, it is all right for them to help us achieve our rights.
No matter what you say, a woman’s rights and all other issues are bound to get addressed once she takes control of her financial situation. This is only possible once she has the qualifications for a good job and controls how she spends her money. At home she looks after herself, just as she looks after her family.
If you read the book Women and Money by Suze Orman and Rich Dad, Poor Dad, both books will open your eyes to how you can take command of your financial situation. Your money sense is vital in getting you out of all your dilemmas. Your flourishing business, can make an independent woman out of you.
Last week I heard Zeeshan speak at the opening of Sabeel-e-Hunar, in Rawalpindi, ‘if a woman earns well, the family’s attitude towards her will change. You will see, that once she starts earning Rs.80,000 per month, no one will tell her what time she must get home!’
This is the crux of the matter.
When a woman is financially dependent on her husband or parents, that is when her family members starts imposing their ideas on her. They will control her and her assets if they can do it, and get away with it. She has to become financially strong and have a good hold of her own assets, before she can get her rights.
Economic independence is the only way out.
Stop giving away:
Firstly, women get few opportunities for financial independence. But the sad fact is that when they do get hold of cash through a lot of hard work, women are the first ones to give these away to male family members and to the rest of their family. You’ve got to take care of yourself first, then give your earnings away in small amounts – just like the men do! You have to prove that you can have a grip on your assets and finances. Savings are essential. I’ve seen women saving through committees but when they get the lump sum it is all splashed away – bringing them to zero point again!
There is a reason for the situation we are in! Yes, we have to face it first. We are at fault too.
Let us face this reality: Women’s rights are completely sidelined legally in Pakistan. The men refuse to let them have their share of property, they get away with taking control of their properties. So, do stand up for these, if you can. Mostly women are emotionally black mailed into giving away their property. (As I have experienced also!)
As I write, I’ve got to confess that I’ve given 1135 kanals of agricultural lands in our names as well as other inherited property, for the sake of making peace. This is the situation, due to our failed legal system. I went to courts for four-and-half-years trying to get justice from our courts and failed miserably, even though I did won a case. The legal situation needs greatest improvement regarding women’s rights. Even when properties are put in their names, they are not handed to them.
- Firstly, women must be handed over the properties in their names. (They also, must prove that they are fully capable of handling these, as I’ve seen a few of them manage lands well too!)
- Secondly, women should receive equal share to the men, because men are not fulfilling their responsibilities as male Muslims to provide for their women. So, why should they receive double of women’s property share? So, let women fend for themselves by getting equal share in property. (They are having to do it anyway!)
- Presently, when a brother or man receives double a woman’s share, he must be made to fulfill his obligations to the women of the family also, providing women food, clothing and shelter.
- Giving 1/8 share to a wife after husband’s death is now null and void, because no male family member is willing to take on her responsibility for life. (As was the case, in early Islamic times, and even as a child I saw how women were specially taken care of by elder male members of family. In such cases, it is fine.)
- Khula must be given with return of all the wife’s belongings in the control of her husband, which includes her furniture, jewelry and anything else that belongs to her. Presently, she can get this right after paying a hefty amount to the Lawyer! In all this ‘Islamic’ process, the ones benefiting are the lawyers who get their fat bellies filled from both sides.
Islamic legal rights:
- Our people are very quick to push Islamic rights on our women. Tell them to first cut the thief’s hand for stealing, lashes for adultery for man and the woman, hanging for murder, then talk about women’s property rights. That too, after fulfilling all your Islamic obligations of taking care of the woman’s food, clothing, education and shelter requirements for life.
In Islam, the man is the main provider for his family. A man has no right to the earnings of a woman, she can keep it for her own well being and security, and spend it as she wishes. (This tenet of Islam must be adhered to, in letter and spirit. I see no legal binding done here.) Only when grabbing women’s properties, the men are clear and supporting of each other. (When they are grabbing their mother’s, sister’s and wife’s properties, then they don’t think about Islam.)
The law must be making sure these men who are receiving the double share are fulfilling their Islamic obligations too: they say five times prayers, perform Haj and pay their zakat and taxes conscientiously, and do not take interest in their banking and savings, while taking care of food clothing and shelter of all those women in their family who are widows, divorcees, or unwed.
Make your own decisions:
- A woman has the right to decide whom she will marry.
- She must also decide how many children she is to have. At the same time her husband must be made to accompany her to the labor room, to assist during delivery of his children. (Thankfully, it is beginning now in Pakistan also.)
- Not to agree to marital rape.
- Protection from any sexual harassment, to speak out for the ‘me too’ movement.
- Have the right to work and have access to her earnings.
- Protection from every type of domestic abuse and violence.
Time management skills:
While women are amazing at multi-tasking, they can easily get distracted, from their objectives. So, it is vital to make sure your time management is properly focused. As Shahnaz Farooki mentioned that it only takes forty minutes to cook food for the day, where does the rest of the time go? If a woman is conscious of using her time well, she can achieve a lot in one day.
Stop this tendency to think negatively. Instead of counting all the reasons why you can’t do something, just count all the ways that you can! Get out of the ‘poor me’ syndrome. It only weakens you!
Standing up for rights:
By the way, it doesn’t matter to me, whichever ‘mode’ you choose to use – to march on the roads or not. Perhaps, you choose to fight your battle in your own unique way. Whatever you do, you can to achieve your goal, while not downplaying other’s modes of fighting for rights. In the end we all will benefit from achieving privileges for women in our society.
Work or be an Entrepreneur:
At the work place, work as professionally as possible, and at the same time, never miss an opportunity to ask for promotions or higher pay scales. Unfortunately, I know that isn’t so, Women are often underpaid. When a woman and man are doing the same work, putting in the same hours, then it is only fair to pay the same to them. This is a point to note, when you open your own company; be fair to both genders.
If you find that the the pay isn’t enough, then you can do a side job with a regular one, or look for a better option. On the other hand, you can do another job in your spare time, this is called moonlighting and is quite prevalent among men too. All my life, I did teaching, and along with that I painted during my spare time, and sold my paintings. At the same time, I also worked in different newspapers and magazines as a freelance writer.
Take care of yourself:
You take care of your husband, and children while ignoring yourself. So, do be fair to yourself too. So, it is vital for you to give yourself priority too. In fact, take care of yourself physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and financially on a weekly basis as I’ve mentioned here. Actually, everything else will work itself out, if we just improve our financial situation.
Stay blessed, my sweetie pies. Alhamdolillah, life is good and together we shall make it better. ?
Stay blessed, my Readers.