The era of technology, beholding the upward trend of social awareness and movements against gender-based discrimination and female inferiority has bought up a sense of support and encouragement for females in various fields of life around the globe. Women Empowerment is taking root in various parts of the world. However, the women of Pakistan find the patriarchal social norms as a hindrance in the way of development, but many of them have played prominent roles in setting up pathways for other women to rise together.
Women of Gilgit-Baltistan
In the northern areas of Pakistan, the literacy rate is increasing rapidly. “According to a 1998 census, the adult literacy in Gilgit and Baltistan was about 38 percent, which has now risen to 53 percent in 2005–6, (males 64 percent and females 41 percent)” (Dawn, 2009). These figures indicate the educational crisis among the female of Gilgit-Baltistan.
UNICEF reports that in Gilgit Baltistan, 74% of secondary school-aged girls are out of school. (Metz, 2020). The fact that Gilgit and Baltistan is in between a huge socio-economic change, the empowerment of women in every field of life is important for many reasons;
Women empowerment through education can play a vital role in enhancing the skills of women and reducing the chance of dependence on men. Access to higher education can reduce gender-based decimation in educational institutions and workplaces and providing equal opportunities for young girls to come forward can make it possible to lead their respective organizations.
Educate Mothers and Transform Families.
Bonaparte, a famous scholar says that “give me an educated mother, and I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation.” Mothers are considered the initial scholars for every child; an independent and educated mother contributes to the behavior patterns of a child and can help guide their career paths.
Women empowerment is important for the social development of families and their productive living can play a role in reducing health issues. The act of prioritizing women’s rights can reduce the rapid population growth in the area.
Access to quality education for females paves the way for the area’s economic growth. Women contributing to businesses, leading startups and companies, and getting employed can help to overcome the financial crisis of the area and the only-man-should-earn taboo can be discarded.
Many women of Gilgit-Baltistan have made it possible for other females to break the glass ceiling, through their hard work and self-motivation. They are well recognized in sports, arts, high educational performances, and representing the country in global summits for peace and prosperity.
The economic empowerment of women in the area can make it easy for the next generation to focus on developmental goals. Providing skill-set training and setting up small businesses for women can uplift the financial level of their families. This act can also prevent the high suicidal rates in the area. The engagement of women in productivity can eliminate teenage and forced marriages.
Government of Gilgit Baltistan and Women Empowerment
The government of Gilgit-Baltistan is taking steps to facilitate women to make them the ambassadors of women empowerment. The coordinator of the Chief Minister of GB said in an interview that “women will be imparted new skills to enable their livelihood and become financially independent.” (Radio Pakistan News, 2022)
In the elected legislative assembly of Gilgit Baltistan, only 6 seats out of 33 are reserved for women. The local government must increase the seats in GB Assembly for women; therefore, we can see women in politics and social affairs.
The government sector employment should announce more quotas for females, which can make it possible for them to participate equally in the social and educational sectors.
It has been witnessed that many female murder cases remain unjust and the attackers were set free, which encourages the idea of female inferiority in the area.
Government must take legal action against the individuals who bully, harass and attack the rights of the females in Gilgit Baltistan.
The administration must provide financial aid to those women who have the willpower to work but the financial crisis to set up small businesses and firms. Many widows in the area do not remarry for the sake of their children. Government must identify them and take measures to make them capable of earning. Women empowerment through job opportunities will kick start a process of economic growth in the region.
Sports activities must be encouraged for females. The government should provide more opportunities and platforms for young female athletes in the area. Moreover, the government should organize talent hunt drives for these athletes and enable them to pursue sports as a profession.
The e-commerce and tech institutions focusing on women empowerment must be encouraged by the government while providing them with assets to empower women.