Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

Pakistan: New Knowledge, New Self-Confidence: Stories of Expanding Personal Choices

Published Date: 
Monday, November 10, 2014
Source: 
Shirkat Gah

For many women in Pakistan whose choices and opportunities in life have been stifled, coming into contact with Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource centre can be a life-changing experiences.  Through outreach activities, attending trainings, and visiting the Women Friendly Spaces, Shirkat Gah has given women new understanding of their situations and their rights, and has empowered them to challenge the injustices around them.  Here, three women say what Shirkat Gah has done for them.

New-found self-confidence and autonomy

I never had any notion of having any rights. I used to go about my life according to what my husband asked of me. After having attended the WELDD trainings, I found out that women have rights and prestige, and they can therefore advance and be successful. I no longer think of myself as completely dependent on my husband.

Sumera Parveen, WELDD leader from Bhakar, Punjab

A job of her own 

I had always longed for a job, but between household work and raising children, there had never been any time. Hence life seemed monotonous and meaningless. I have gained a lot of confidence and empowerment since I became a member of ‘Sujhal Sawera’ (the local name of the Purple Women Movement in Punjab). I am now able to convince my husband for my rights easily. Everything I learn from the WELDD trainings I impart onto other women of my community. I now have my own office. I attended the midwifery trainings and now I am a midwife. I thank God for of the awareness that Shirkat Gah has provided me. I am now very happy that my dreams have come to fruition.

Shazia Manzoor WELDD leader from Bhakar, Punjab

Equality starts at home

I was married off when I was 14 years old and now I am a mother of seven – five daughters and two sons. I am an underprivileged person and so I could never be overindulgent with my children. I used to treat my sons far better than my daughters; I used to think that girls belong to someone else’s home – there is no benefit from them. When I attended the WELDD training sessions with Shirkat Gah, I realized that I shouldn’t discriminate when it comes to my children. I realized that I used to treat my daughters unjustly, and how they helped me out more than my sons. Previously, I used to cook eggs for breakfast only for my sons. After having attended the trainings with Shirkat Gah, I realized that by giving my sons special attention this way I was reinforcing the oppression of patriarchy. I now save the money which I used to spend on the eggs, and if I do cook eggs, I give them to my daughters first.

Rukhsana WELDD leader from Marghuzar, Swat

Issue: 
Political and Public Participation
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