Where do women stand in the realm of education, conflict and positions of power?
An imperative point of discussion throughout the course of our discussions has been how conflict affects women – those receiving it have always been a center of attention but female teachers in specific are direly affected in terms of security, livelihood, and employment, which is why we concluded that Pakistan is a perfect case study for education and conflict. Operations like Zarb-e-Azab are launched when there is also a dire need for policy responses to violence in KPK. It’s imperative to recognise that there are matters to be catered to beyond this as well. Educational response hasn’t ever been a clear priority in Pakistan and no attention is paid to the post conflict requirements especially for females.
Connecting this back to our course content, we even highlighted women in positions of power and notions such as the perception that when women accept militarist notions of power it is easier for them to become part of national security and state institutions. This is a major challenge to feminist culture and thinking.
An imperative example is of Benazir Bhutto who brought first female judges e.g., Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar and Nasira Iqbal. Her occupying the prime minister office during her pregnancy reiterated the sheer need of this system to have a man at the helm of affairs. Beyond man and woman, we are more focused in terms of more masculine and feminine – it’s second nature to us being led by a man, or an aggressive aura possess by female. And in the Pakistani context especially, all women have to be docile while all men have to be aggressive. Benazir’s public appearance in the dupatta was post her office beginning to be approved by the Pakistani society. For cross cultural context, the picture from the Abbottabad attack situation room of Hilary Clinton as the only individual with a ‘feminine’ expression of worry, reiterates the worldwide system of building a certain narrative.
We must therefore push ourselves to think how we as a society accommodate women both in times of need, and when they are deserving to be part of the decision making process. The layers of biases we have are sometimes unconsciously hidden, even from ourselves.