KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Under the dual system of Pakistan’s civil and sharia law, women are considered to have equal rights with regards to the men. However, due to the deeply entrenched patriarchy in the society, the implementation of these laws is normally skewed in favor of the males. From how far women will study (or if they will be allowed to pursue an education at all) to whom they will marry and how soon they will have children, is all predetermined by the men in most families. The social system is such that the man is automatically considered the leader and heir of each household, burdening him with the responsibility of protecting the “reputation” and “honor” of his womenfolk and family name.
Constitutional rights mean little, if anything, in the highly conservative society of Pakistan, with the exception of some urban cities. Most women are unaware they even have rights as individual citizens of the country, since in a majority of the cases the law is seen as ineffectual. Cultural and traditional customs rule most households, ensuring that the men are the ultimate rule of law, making them the judge, jury and executioner. This ensures a continuing silence in the face of wide-spread gender based discriminatory practices.
We at TABAAN feel very strongly regarding this disparity between the sexes. We believe that all individuals should be made aware of their respective rights in order for them to live with dignity and respect. For this purpose, we have compiled documents from various different sources (including some that we have created ourselves) that will help empower women in our society. These documents also include laws regarding women’s rights in both Pakistan and the United Nations.
Know Your Rights is a campaign started by TABAAN aimed at informing women (and men) of their individual rights. It is by no means the end all and be all where resource matter is concerned, and will remain a collaborative, ongoing project. Find the document of your choice below and get to know your rights!