Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
And while those may seem very simple words, they carry a very important message, a message that needs to be conveyed to the masses. The word ‘everyone’ is reinforced by Article 1 of the same declaration:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in spirit of brotherhood.”
We may acknowledge these principles but the truth is that we, the Pakistani nation, are far from accepting these. Still caught up in the chains of cultural norms and stereotypes, we fail to see these basic ingredients of a healthy society. We are as of yet bound by our perspective of the world which is characterized by a dark colored glass of bias on the basis of gender, race, religion and cultural affiliation. Biases are there at a fundamental level but in order to prevent our motherland from going down a road that leads to an unspeakable fate, we, as Pakistanis, need to have a ‘paradigm shift.’ We need to start empathizing with people and spread love.
This is what Fempower has set out to do. Nelly Stromquist, a well-known scholar on issues related to gender and education, defines empowerment as ‘a process to change the distribution of power both in interpersonal relations and in distributions throughout society.’ Fempower is committed to ‘empowering’ women of our society with the ability to direct and control their lives by fighting the hackneyed idea of women not being ‘self-sufficient.’ Fempower believes in ‘gender equality, equity and self-reliance.’ The roles of men and women in our society as breadwinners and as housewives respectively are in need of redefining based on the freedom of will and the right to choosing the way of life.
Women in Pakistan are in dire need of support and care especially in terms of their psychological and economic well-being. Trapped in a web of dependency and subordination due to social and economic disparities, women have suffered with a lack of opportunities in Pakistan. In addition to that, domestic violence and violence in the name of ‘honor’ is also widespread. It is time women rise above the shackles of cultural and economic limitations, and Fempower aims at supplementing the process with its motto: ‘Still I rise.’
By Rabail Khan