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Pakistani women continue to struggle to break biases

ANI | Updated: Mar 21, 2022 21:29 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 21 (ANI): Pakistani women, including those in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, continue to struggle to break stigma attached to their gender, and navigating life is still an uphill battle for most women and girls.
A majority of women in Pakistan suffer from some kind of health issue stemming from lack of access to a nutritious diet and restricted access to information, The Express Tribune reported citing Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PDHS) Report.
According to the report, over 45 per cent of women are anaemic, 46.5 per cent of women are literate, 10 per cent of women can make independent decisions about their health, 25 per cent of young women are part of the labour force, while only 39 per cent of women in the country own a mobile phone.
The report stated that there is still emphasis on women repeatedly to strive to concieve a male child, risking the life of the mother as well as the child's health. It further added that mothers who gave birth before turning 18 have a 6 per cent higher risk of delivering babies prone to stunted growth.
Pakistan women's rights group, Aurat March, since its first march in 2018, are trying to make various changes in society but still, there is a lot to be planned and achieved in terms of women's access to adequate healthcare, according to Dr Azra, who campaigns for women's health issues.

The Population Council of Pakistan Senior Director, Dr Ali Meer informed that 1,900 maternal deaths occur annually in K-P, while more than 53 per cent of new-born babies die before making it to their first birthday.
"The constitution of Pakistan gives women the right to health and safety, so it is the responsibility of the state that this right is protected and upheld in every province and city," Ali Meer was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
Notably, since the Imran Khan government came to power in August 2018, Pakistan's Global Gender Gap Index has worsened over time. In 2017, Pakistan ranked 143, slipping to 148 in 2018.
According to the last year's 'Global Gender Gap Report 2021', Pakistan ranked 153 out of 156 countries on the gender parity index, that is, among the last four.
The country has become more conservative since Imran Khan came to power. Islamist parties such as TLP and Jamaat-e-Islami, among others, are feeling emboldened and have gained more popularity across the country in the last three years, spreading harsher versions of Islam, especially targeting women and minorities.
In addition, the Taliban's forceful takeover of Afghanistan last year and the subsequent increase in violence against women under the Sharia Law has further exacerbated fears among women in Pakistan. (ANI)