South Asia had been under rule of other nations for hundreds of years whenever a new nation came to rule us they made their own rules, they implemented their own religion on us, they promoted their own culture and forced our ancestors to follow them.
Our people were nothing but just slaves for centuries, they had no say in anything, and they had to follow what they were being told by the foreigner rulers.
This slavery was not easy this was a mental and physical torture they fought to get rid of those rulers but one would go and other would replace them.
Our men could not accept this insult so they tried to find someone weaker than them to reduce their anger, to use their power on them, where there was no opposition, someone who could bear all the cruelty, beating, punishment for nothing and who could respect them by all means.
They went to home and saw their women, who would call them their Gods, who would bow in front of them, who loved them, who respected them, who would leave their parents and siblings for them and who would never complain.
Men thought these were their target, so they told themselves they are rulers of their women, they closed all doors of dreams, of success and of integrity for women, and they interpreted the religions according to their own choices and forced women to follow
Women became their slaves, who have no power on their lives, who have no choice and no authority.
Foreigner rulers have gone but mentality of men has not changed. They treat women the way they want. They have put this thought into their minds that only those women are good and pious who serve their men and follow their instructions.
If a woman tries to stand up for her rights they try to prove her as wrong and a bad woman, they keep other women away from her contact even they try to kill her and give this act a name of their Honor and this killing is called the ''honor killing'' as a result women rarely dare to go against men’s will they keep themselves behind the walls and wait for their orders to act upon them and this becomes a mato of women’ lives they keep struggling all life to win a man’s heart and favor for their survival.
They have to depend on men for everything from going to doctor for medicine, to go out of home, to have food and shelter and clothes on their bodies and to be saved from other men. A woman has to suffer from all kinds of physical and mental violence of one man because they have made this belief that women cannot protect themselves and they cannot deal with men outside home without help of a man.
This is a reason a woman in Pakistan always desires to have more brothers, she gives preference to sons over daughters and she does not stop living with a violent man.
Because men want them to stay inside the houses and they have to follow men that’s why they do not get education, do not learn skills and for basic things of life they bear all kind of behaviors of men.
In Pakistan where I am working to raise the status of women through education and empowerment Women participation rate in labor force is only 28 per cent, which is particularly low in the urban areas. Household duties and lack of education are considered by more than 80 per cent Pakistani women as the major reasons for their non-participation in the labor force, said World Development Report 2013, issued by the World Bank.
In this scenario we cannot expect a good living standard for women in Pakistan
But we who have education and who know the situation of women we cannot sit back, we cannot keep silent we have to help our fellow sisters, we have to make them empowered by all means and we have to be stronger, smarter and more powerful than those men who are against women’s empowerment because they do not want to lose their slaves who are women
That’s why in Pakistan in 2012 we started a stitching center, a beauty salon training center, an IT center and English language learning class, we banned entrance of any man in this area completely so that men allow their women to come and learn from our center because they do not want any man apart from family to look at their women. In our center everything is designed by women, done by women, seen by women and learnt by women only.
But through internet we started giving knowledge and introduction of the world to our students as much as we could, from ocean to space, from beauty tips to politics, from household to boxing and self-defense techniques, from women’s rights awareness to menstrual hygiene and from kitchen gardening to climate change
Since 2012 400 women are taking these free trainings from Zeph center annually who become different human beings, empowered, full of knowledge, aware of their worth, abilities and powers after learning from us. Today all those women who have learnt from us are doing jobs and have own small business they are earning helping themselves and their families, they speak for their rights, they use their powers and convince their female friends to join our center to change their lives.
This is just a beginning of our journey we still have a very long way to go and cannot rest until each woman is financially empowered because empowered women are power of all women