Feminism is a struggle that demands equal rights and opportunities for women. There are different types of feminism such as Liberal, Radical, Social and Marxist are some of the most famous kinds of feminism. To raise the social, cultural, economic and political status of women in Pakistan, it is important that we first analyze that what kind of feminism best suited Pakistan. Being an Islamic Republic, the social, political and cultural pattern of life of Pakistani society is far different from that of the rest of the world especially the western society.
Liberal feminism believes in no biological differences and therefore it demands equality between men and women on all grounds. Marxist and Socialist feminism considered family system as one of the major sources of women’s oppression and exploitation in the society. To answer the questions “what type of feminism do we need in Pakistan?” and “what type(s) of feminism can elevate women status in Pakistan?” let us first explain all the different ways through which we can elevate women status in Pakistan.
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The social status of women in Pakistan can be raised by educating the general public about the importance and role of women in the society. About 95 – 98% of the population of Pakistan is Muslim. In such case, the services of religious scholars and imams can be utilized for educating the general public about the role and rights of women in society by citing the Islamic teachings of Quran and Sunnah.
The economic status of women in the society can be raised by allowing her to do job. But before job acquisition, it is important that women should first learn some skill and acquired education. To achieve this objective, feminists should evaluate the importance and effects of women education, job and income earning on both the society and family.
Similarly the political activities of women in the society can be enhanced by highlighting the percentage of women population in the society and the importance of the women political role for the welfare of both other fellow women and the state.
Western Versus Islamic Feminism
Keeping the above points in mind, we need such a feminism in Pakistan that could elevate the social, economic and political status of the women within the boundaries of Islam and by keeping in view the social and cultural values of the country. Unfortunately no single feminism thought passes on this criterion.
We see that liberal feminism is totally against those social and cultural values of the society that are based on sexual differences. There is a fine difference between equality and sameness. Men and women can be equal but they cannot be same. They both have some different qualities and on the basis of those qualities they have different responsibilities in the society. Such differences and responsibilities cannot be avoided as their avoidance can result in the destruction of the society.
Similarly, Marxist and Socialist feminisms are also not applicable in our society. Marxist and Socialist feminisms are strongly against the family system and considered family life as one of the major sources of women oppression and exploitation but they failed to realize that the survival of human race lies in the family system.
Thus the above discussion shows that western feminist ideas do not fit to our social and religious principles. Therefore the only best option that we have is to raise the status of women in our society according to the principles and teachings of Islam. We should not forget that Islam had provided many rights to women centuries ago that now western and other societies are trying to provide to women.