2015 essay contest honorable mention



by Sabeeh Mirza

11th grader, Beaconhouse School, Pakistan


Don't women have the right to dream? In the whole world, it can be seen that women have been deprived of the fundamental rights that every human being deserves. Lots of cases have been documented that support the hypothesis that men have more rights than women, no matter what field is analyzed. Taking politics as an example, a woman has never been elected as the president of the United States, a country that strives vigorously to eliminate gender discrimination. But other than issues that can be seen on the surface, the biggest challenge that actually plays an important role in creating these issues as well, is the fact that in most parts of the world, women are deprived of the fundamental right to 'dream' and turn their lives into what they want.


Pakistan, a country, not well known for providing equal opportunities to men and women, also serves as a great example of a place where women's right to dream is snatched from them. The culture and traditions of Pakistan dictate that the only job a woman has, is to get married as soon as possible and then live her whole life serving her children and husband, forgetting about all the dreams and desires she had for herself. Parents instill this tradition within their daughters and expect them to abide by it, hence destroying whatever expectations they had from their lives. But, if a woman chooses to go against the will of her parents and fight against what the traditions dictate, to achieve her goals in life, she is met with heavy criticism which sometimes results in abandonment by her parents, and in extreme cases, leads to what can be considered equivalent to a 'honour killing', since she has brought 'shame' to her culture.


Over time, development and liberal ideas have seeped in Pakistan which has led to cities growing out of such a frame of mind, but, it is still not difficult to find examples of this in Pakistan, especially in rural areas. In such places, 'unnecessary' or a 'waste of time and wealth', are phrases used by people to express the value and importance that women's education holds, since they believe that women only serve the purpose of maintaining a household, and other 'worldly' affairs are to be dealt by men. So, if a woman aspires to achieve something in life, such as become a doctor or an engineer, her dream would remain unfulfilled, due to the lack of education or family pressure to uphold her traditions. A real life occurrence of this can be found in the infamous shooting of Malala Yousafzai, where she was shot by the Taliban since she fought for women's right to education.


Usually, arguments suggest that gender discrimination or the mindset that women are incapable of performing worldly tasks plays a major role in making men the dominant gender in every field of business and politics. These arguments usually ignore the fact that women don't even make an attempt to enter such fields, as traditions and culture hold them back. 


Backward thinking by Pakistanis has held women back for a long time. The only constructive solution to such a prolonging issue would be to completely abolish this tradition, and allow women to dream, as they deserve to.