I don’t know if this will the first post that I publish but it is the first to be written. I’ll try not to wander off topic too much but I really am very excited to finally be sitting down and writing my first blog post.
Let’s get straight onto the topic then! Women, work and financial independence. The argument of whether women in Pakistan should or shouldn’t work is one that we hear of quite a lot. The fact of the matter is that it isn’t up to anyone but the woman herself to decide whether or not pursuing a career is for her. I recently read a post on facebook which really made my blood boil, the writer suggested that the rising divorce rates in Pakistan are due to more women entering the workplace and as a consequence neglecting their homes. Did you ever hear something so ridiculous?! I don’t know of a single woman who would prioritize her work over her family.
A question I hear men ask all the time is that, “If I’m working, why would my wife feel the need?” Ummm… excusez moi si’l vous plait … Is she not human? Does she not have goals/dreams of her own? or was she just made to serve your needs?! Geez, for God’s sake get over yourself! We have minds , dreams, aspirations , just as you do.
And please don’t call me a man hater because I’m really not, I know very well that not all men are alike just as not all women are but I just cannot fathom how someone could be so ignorant as to say things like this.
Let me give you some statistics:
According to the world development report published in 2012, female participation in the workplace for the year 2012 was 28% .Even though this percentage is rather low, especially when compared to countries like Vietnam which had a percentage of 77% in the same year, it’s still something to be proud of. We’ve definitely come a long long way. In fact, from 2000-2011 there has been an 8.1% increase in female participation, that means that 7 million females have been added to the workplace over this 11 year period.
This shows that despite the adversities and struggles faced by women in the workplace, including harassment, unequal pay, judgmental remarks etc , women are moving on up and they are determined to not let anything or anyone stop them. Getting a job leads to achievement of financial independence and I believe that there’s nothing better you could do for yourself .In my opinion, financial independence comes with:
- Security: How many times have you heard of divorcees and widows living in a miserable state after parting from their husbands, having to ask ignorant relatives for support or loans? Needless to say, in both cases (i.e of a divorce or death) whether you are working or not, you will suffer emotionally and be deeply hurt, but if you are financially independent, it will be much easier to get back up on you feet and though it make time to reach emotional stability you will for sure find it easy to deal with financial situation. Also, you will not feel the need, as many Pakistani women do, to stick around in a toxic relationship just because your family’s only source of income comes from the man.
- Freedom to spend on yourself: What I’ve observed in a lot of households is that women have to constantly ask/plead their husbands for money which they can spend on themselves , whether it’s for shopping or to get a mani/pedi.This usually requires having to sacrifice your self-respect as the man usually replies by blaming you for wasting his money and what not, when in actuality the money earned by him belongs to both of you. However,the husbands aren’t always wrong, sometimes they’re just not making enough money to accommodate such expenses.In such cases, you should obviously be understanding.But if you’re earning your own money you won’t have such worries and will be able to spend freely on yourself without feeling guilty or killing your self-respect.
- Lifestyle:In today’s economy, where affording even the bare necessities proves difficult, maintaining an above average lifestyle definitely doesn’t come with ease. In such circumstances,if the wife decides to work, she is also able to contribute towards the expenses and this will indeed help better the family’s lifestyle.This change could lead , for example,to you being able to afford a better school for your children or a house in a nicer neighbourhood.
- Less interaction with the in-laws: If you live with your in-laws you definitely know what I’m talking about.If you’re part of the 1% of Pakistani women who have nice in-laws , then congratulations! how very lucky of you, but also don’t read this because you won’t be able to relate.Now to the remaining 99% , you hear me right ? If you have oh so unfortunately ended up living with your saasu ma (mother in law) here’s the easiest way to spend as little time with her as possible…WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK ( did you sing that like Rihanna? You better have!) Ok, jokes apart, working really CAN help avoid so many problems at home. Firstly, you won’t be home most of the day, so there won’t be any opportunity for bickering, secondly if you’re at work ,you can’t mess up at home , right?! Thirdly, even if your mother in law does find some time to complain to you, you will be too exhausted to pay any heed to it.This may just be the biggest motivation for women to work.
So that’s a wrap guys! This was honestly so much fun.I felt like I was talking to a friend, writing is definitely a very therapeutic activity.I’m sorry if my writing isn’t up to the mark but I’ve been out of practice and really I’m not that great anyway but i know that i love to write and so i shall write.
Also , I wanted to end by saying that I by no means am trying to imply that all women should work no matter what or that it’s for everyone. There are many women who choose to take on the job of a house maker and I think that it’s beautiful that they put everyone else before themselves and by no means are working women better in any way than housewives. More power to women! No matter what role you choose to take on, know that you are loved and appreciated.