WOMEN IN SOUTH ASIA ARE FORCED TO LIVE IN THE STONE AGE

While the rest of the world is in the 21st century, women in the South Asian subcontinent are compelled to live in stone-age conditions. National leaders hold them responsible for rape, receive lower wages than men, are killed for family honor, and live in pathetic health conditions.

This was the overall conclusion of the International Women’s Conference organized by the US-based nonprofit South Asia Democracy Watch (SDW).

Participating activists and scholars called upon the youth, men, women, and the downtrodden sections of the society to unite and resist violence against women. They also urged the political leadership in the region to resolve women’s issues on an emergency basis.  

Women activists, health professionals, and scholars from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United States discussed a wide range of themes as part of this virtual conference last Saturday.

According to the presenters, half of the world population faces multiple issues, including sexual exploitation, honor killings, socio-economic discrimination, violence, and deteriorating health conditions.

On top of it, some political leaders, by saying women are responsible for sexual assaults because of their revealing dress code, tend to exacerbate women’s suffering in man-dominated social structures.

Referring to Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan’s recent statement that women are responsible for rape, the participants said this type of leadership makes women further vulnerable to men’s violence and exploitation.  

Welcoming the conference participants, the SDW Executive Director, Dr. Qaisar Abbas, said it was impossible to organize the conference of this level without the time and expertise of participating scholars and activists.

He congratulated the SDW Conference Committee members, Aftab Siddiqui, Ambreen Khan, Syeda Aroob Iqbal, and Syed Fayyaz Hasan, for organizing such a successful and global event.

In the first session of the conference, Dr. Sher Shah Syed (Pakistan), Dr. Swaraj Rajbhandari (Nepal), Bilkis Begam (Bangladesh), and Jaspreet Mahal (India) discussed different aspects of women’s health in the region.

Nepal’s Bharati Silval Giri, Kashmir’s Khoula Siddiqui, United States’ Beverly Hill, and Sabra Begam talked about women’s participation in democracy, gendercide, and women’s education.

Based on this successful event, SDW intends to offer women’s conferences on an annual basis.

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