The subject chosen
for my final work project is ‘Women
Empowerment in Pakistan’. The reason for selection of this subject is
because Pakistan is my home country, where I have lived all my life and the issues
regarding women empowerment have presented themselves in every step of my life.
Even though I, myself am from an educated family, in my social circle, such
instances are very common such as gender discrimination; the most common
upcoming issue being the creation of glass ceiling; whereby women and men are
not treated equally in the work place with respect to their salaries. Another
common concern is that of equality. Pakistan is a country which has its’
population divided between the rural and urban sector, where the rural population
comprises of 60% of the overall population. Within this sector, there exists
major discrimination between the genders regarding education and employability
as women as known to be the home makers, with little importance given to their education
or jobs. Such concerns also exist in the urban sector, however at a much lower
scale. Empowerment of women refers to their right to have access over
resources, economic and social status, wealth, and income. This topic will to
be discussed further along with reasons as to why this is common along with
problems faced by women. Towards the end, I will discuss how to overcome such
issues and introduce a renowned artist whose work has been to create awareness
regarding ‘Women Empowerment’.
Common barriers to
I am a Pakistani
national, having resided in Pakistan for nearly 25 years. With time, having
observed a lot of families and instances in my society and culture, the
struggle of women became apparent whereby their efforts and hard-work is
usually taken for granted as it is a common misconception that women are home
makers, with their responsibilities lying in domestic duties and child bearing
therefore women are not considered for opportunities related to job and
education. Their domestic duties are understood to be their job with little or
no acknowledgement. Rising domestic duties and fewer chances of employment have
proven to be a considerable obstacle for the women in Pakistan.
Problems faced by
Women in our
society are faced with issues like gender discrimination and inequality as the
men in our society are dominating, overpowering a lot of decisions for the
women in every aspect of life. Women are thought to be emotional beings with
little or no understanding for decision making due to lack of education
therefore it is thought to be suitable for men to take the decisions of their
behalf. Due to lack of education in women, the same is also passed on to the
future generations thus this problem is difficult to overcome. This also
impacts the economic development of the country as women are not able to
contribute to the growth. It is important to note that the women in the rural
areas are quite talented as they can contribute in handiwork and crafts which
are valued globally, however because they lack the education, they do not
realize the importance of their craft and are unaware of the platforms which
can be used to create awareness and promote their craft. Additionally, there
exists very few organizations that work to promote such talents in Pakistan.
Women are also faced with domestic violence due to lack of awareness regarding
their rights which renders them impossible to stand up against such atrocities.
Such lack of education and lack of awareness regarding their rights also leads
to the women being forced into early marriages against their will. This is also
because their families also lack education and thus do not realize the repercussion
of early marriages and importance of educating women. Early marriages lead to destroying the women’s
childhood and burdening them with social and domestic responsibilities which
they usually have not matured for. In addition, the concept of dowry is quite
dominant owed to lack of education which these families are forced into,
therefore ruining their self-esteem and burdening them financially. Lastly, as
the women lack education and awareness of their right, these women are harassed
without them even realizing that they have been a victim of such atrocities.
Within this, the concept of marital rape is also poignant as standing up
against it is thought to be against the rights of men and marriage.
In our society, it
is commonly believed that women should only focus on their families, household
chores and upbringing the children being the home-maker. Women are unaware of
their rights and role in society because of lack of education; the importance
of which is not considered for them. Higher education, once an elitist phenomenon, is progressively within
the reach of women in all nations globally. Training at all levels, yet higher
education particularly, gives women various choices and enables them to be free
scholars and operators of progress. The Pakistani government
needs to consider this social revolution and promote education, training and
professional development of women all around the country.
The importance and
ways of empowering women:
Women need to be made aware of their rights;
to education, to employability, to living with honor, glory, and freedom. They
should be able to spend an impartial and reasonable life which is according to
their will. Knowledge and education can help them improve their quality of life
as well as the life of the future generations which will have a positive impact
on the upbringing of their children. Women empowerment will surely lead to a
brighter future for our nation, impact the economic development and add value
to their lives.
In Pakistan, the
current female population is 49%, however women participation in labour force
is below 30%, which is poor owed to the reasons described above. Women
empowerment and employment opportunities will not only benefit women, but also
men, society and the overall economic development in Pakistan as they would be
able to contribute and add value to the goods sold. Women are responsible, able
to multi-task and capable of doing office jobs, holding executive positions and
running and setting up enterprises, if provided with the opportunities.
Conventional mindsets largely hinder women from being prosperous and standing
up for their prerogatives due to lack of awareness regarding rights and
education. Women should be free to express their thoughts and imaginations and
exercise their rights. Both, men and women should be treated equally in sense
of opportunities, respect and honor, as one of the analytical aspects of gender
equality is women empowerment. Giving women the right to work, access to
resources, and control over their lives personally and socially will also reduce
their financial and emotional dependence on men and their families. Empowerment
of women relates to equality without any bias. Women should be equally treated with
their own respectable status in society and complete power to take decisions.
The overall growth for a development of society depends on the maxim of women
empowerment. The goal is to strengthen women, especially in the rural areas,
for their skills of farming, harvesting, and learning of various crafts.
As compared to the
developed world, women are highly respected, educated and well informed of
their rights with a higher degree of social status. Women should not be
suppressed or considered inferior in any way. They should have liberty to
decide for themselves. They should not be compelled to listen to their fathers,
brothers or husbands. This would give women a sense of social confidence, with
a perfect blend of exposure. Since the world is evolving, authorities in
Pakistan need to work rigorously on creating more occasions for women
participation in the overall economic and social society.
“We cannot all
succeed if half of us (women) are held back.” – Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the
youngest Nobel Prize winner.
Jamil Naqsh is a Pakistani painter who is renowned
for his paintings featuring pigeons with beautiful women, and is living an
isolated life in London. He grew up looking at pigeons fluttering in his
courtyard. His paintings are influenced
by his own past and the Pakistani and Indian cultures, and are inspired with emotions.
He believes that these paintings reflect a lost life, which can only be
recovered with the art. His story starts in
the genealogical home in Kairana, India where he was born in 1939.
Naqsh remembers, the house was loaded with books, original copies and old
fashioned furniture, a place where artists met, and he would discover a
concealing spot among the furniture where he would tune in to the artists. At
an auspicious time, he built up a desire for books and for the craft of the
miniaturists of history. Windows were constantly and completely open in his
house where birds flew in and out. They turned into his companions as he
connected them to the specialty of the smaller than expected depictions, and
decided that these images of his initial life were to proceed as recollections
to be remembered on canvas, so as to come.
In his studio
which he has set up in Karachi, pigeons are welcomed as visitors on the rooftop
and move around freely. In London, his work
is displayed at the Albemarle Gallery. Naqsh was also influenced by the
work of European old masters like Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and French
Neoclassical painter, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867).
Naqsh’s work, using the elements
of pigeons and women, reflects the culture of Pakistan, where he also got
deeply inspired by Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869), the last poet of Mughal era. Through
his poetry, Ghalib expressed philosophy, sufferings and thrill of life. The
idea that human existence is a continuous struggle remained a recurring
composition of his poetry. l Having the
same vision, I have decided to develop designs on empowerment of women
with a blend of poetry in form of patterns, texture and detailing (with
nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it
honors, the men it remembers.” – John F.
english poem for Jamil Naqsh (by Edward Lucie-Smith, an Art Historian):
a pigeon enters her window,
night is hot, therefore an open window.
those wings through the window?
utter of snow
the darkness of the window.
cannot know who speaks
coolly through her window.
Sends words through her window.”
Honors and Awards
received honors and rewards throughout his career:
In 1961 he won a
first prize for Women’s international club in Karachi.
In 1962 he won a
gold medal from Pakistan Arts Council in Karachi.
In 1968 he again
won first prize at National competition by Hamdard National Foundation for
poster design, to find a cure for cancer for display and distribution by W.H.O.
(World Health Organization)
In 1980 he won
Shakir Ali Award from Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan.
In 1982 he was
honored for Contribution of 20 years as a painter at Arts council, Pakistan.
In 1989 he received
Pursuit of Excellence Award from The artist Association of Punjab, Pakistan.
In 1989 he was
awarded Pride of Performance Award in Pakistan.
In 2003 Jamil
Naqsh was given an honor to exhibit his work, A Retrospective, an extensive
retrospective exhibition at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (to date he is the
only artist to have been thus honored in his lifetime).
In 2009 he was
awarded Sitar-e-Imtiaz in Pakistan.
As a designer and
student of exploring knowledge related to textile, design and technology, the
whole abstract behind this project is to highlight the blend of poetry with the
concept of women empowerment, and create new designs and developments at the
end of this project, particularly with my theme and design ideas.
Over the years, I
have discovered the sense of design, textures, colors and latest work methods within
the market, by analyzing and comparing the different kinds of textile mechanism
around the world. Understanding the perception of design and exploring
different cultures throughout this project would be my utmost plan.
internship back in Pakistan, I was involved in exploring the work done by
designers, the material they used for their work, the reasons how and why their
work tended to be appealing and different from others, and their signature
style that made their work standout. It turned out to be helpful for me in
terms of my career as a textile designer.
My signature style
of work is to use different techniques and methods of designing and printing throughout my
course. I will be operating with different materials and the methods of
processing such as digital printing, screen-printing and embroidery
I would start my work by
first conducting research on my chosen topic through extraction of elements
using various keywords. I will sketch out my ideas and for my designs, I
will be working on Adobe Photoshop. I will also consider using a variety of
fabric, as it would help me select the best combination, describing my
I will be creating
inspirational mood, research and product boards for my final assessment. I will
focus on a single colour palette during my designing and will keep record of my
journals, maintaining them step by step during every process.
The products that I
have decide to focus on include multiple accessories such as stoles, handbags,
apparel and footwear. I will create my designs keeping my products in mind. As
for footwear, I have taken short course during my days off from university, and
I believe it will help me with this entire project. Every product will cover my
theme and will carry a story behind it, reflecting Mirza Ghalib’s poetry. The
final outcome will mirror the beauty of women, and also the pain and challenges
they face throughout their lives.
Supposedly, the problems I
would face during my work would be the challenging designs, which would
require an extra and rigorous effort, as at all times I will be required to
have all my ideas in line with my theme. I would strive hard to make sure that
every design on its own explains the topic. This would also demand effective
To support the
women in Pakistan, in my project I will highlight women who face many problems
in their daily life. With my work I want to express the pain they go through. I
want to level up their credibility. They are neglected by their own parents,
husband and children.
The purpose of
adding poetry to my theme is to acknowledge it as a historical apparatus. It’s
typical language, flow and rhythm gives intensity to the ideas, feelings and
emotions of human beings. Through poetry, I would want my work to speak for
itself and highlight the concept of empowering women.