The belief in the concept of social, economic, and political equality of the sexes (biologically identified as male and female) is labelled as feminism. Although the idea largely originated in the West, manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests, but less knowledgeable society representatives and social activists complicate sex orientation view with gender, constructed on the role of a male or female in society. Like other humankind, Pakistan is not exceptional and faces the spring of feminism, women liberation, and rights.
Feminist history can be divided into three waves that occur in different period of 19th and 20th century in America. It includes the struggle to achieve the right to vote, equality and end discrimination which were referred to as the Women Liberation Movement. The goal of feminism is to challenge the systemic inequalities women face on a daily basis. However, recent research has proved that feminism has been associated with strong, forceful, and angry women, and our society continues to punish such forceful women.
There are borrowed ideas about feminism from abroad, but Islam has already offered maximum rights to the women since the past 1400 years. Islam teaches that men and women are equal before God. It grants women divinely sanctioned inheritance, property, social and marriage rights, including the right to reject the terms of a proposal and to initiate divorce.
Allah said in Quran: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another”
The Holy Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H said in his last sermon: “Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women, and treat them well”.
Also, looking at Constitution of Pakistan 1973, Article 25 guarantees that “All citizens are equal under law and re-entitled to equal protection of law”, Article 25(2) further states that “there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sexes alone”. Hence ensures the equality of women in its various articles and uplift the women’s status and protection of their rights.
Although Islam and the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan allocates equal rights to males and females and treats them uniformly but, still the phenomenon of feminism is being negatively injected in our culture primarily to abuse our societal values and norms. This is the borrowed idea from the west which is not applicable in the east especially in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The concept is acceptable in terms of fundamental rights of women but the way the concept features are preached and defended within society is against our culture, values, and religion.
There are thousands of people who believe in equal rights, still, find “feminism” a word and movement that does not align with their personal beliefs or values. Practically, they provide the identical privilege to females until they find it crossing the limit of ethical standards and principles showing dominance and superior attitude towards males. Hence, classify the feminism theory contradictory to their opinions and tenets. Like the west, in the east people comprehend that we have already achieved a peak of equality for men and women in professional fields through open merit to participate and grow to the level of excellence.
Back in 2018, Aurat March was held in many cities across Pakistan to coincide with Internal Women’s Day on 8 March, displaying unrespectable slogans like: freedom over fear, mera jism meri marzi, khana khud garam karo etc. These projections damaged the image of real honorable women and supposed as propaganda to create conflict and distract the mentality of females and provoke negativity towards opposite sex. Thus, the feminism notion was misinterpreted countrywide.
Addressing real feminism is to raise voice by women for attaining fundamental rights, for example: if some women are not getting their rights from parents, or badly treated by men, not getting their proposed share in properties, they can raise voice according to law. She is encouraged to take khula if she finds it difficult to stay with a spouse. The basic purpose of feminism is to inform women about their Islamic and constitutional rights which they can use for getting privileges.
It is the need of the time to stick with eastern values and create Islamic and constitutional rights awareness among society to minimize any future conflicted incidents and save any misguidance.