People in Pakistan, an autonomous sovereign state, adhere to many of its cultural traditions and customs. Yet societal stigmas across many levels continue to afflict Pakistani culture. Many of these social stigmas have a long history in our culture. In Pakistan, many people and tribes are still clinging to the past and resisting progress. Social inequality, health, marriage, and education are the areas that have the greatest impact on people as a whole living at home and working.
Societal stigmas that persist in Pakistan are listed are:
1. Working Females are ‘Characterless’
Most countries view women receiving a solid education before going to work as being the norm.
This is due to the fact that supporting a family as a single individual can be challenging. This does not necessarily applicable to every region in Pakistan, though. In several industries, Pakistan’s main cities employ women. For the smaller towns, however, the same cannot be said. Except for those who have highly visible jobs like doctors and other professions, the majority of women who do work are single.
Most of the time, a woman’s husband and in-laws do not want her to work after she gets married. They view it as a dishonorable act that will harm the family’s reputation. Most of these Pakistani women choose to have children and work as full-time housewives instead of pursuing their aspirations. It gets worse in the north where many women are prohibited from leaving the house by their families. Pakistan promises to create an equal playing field, although that does not appear to be the case always.
Even those who work hard and make money ethically are frequently described to as “characterless” or “Behaya” (shameless). Independent workers face criticism from society, particularly from conservative groups.
2. Limited Career Options
Many democracies encourage original thinking and inspiring work. Everyone has the right and freedom to select their area of interest. Pakistan is ranked eighth in the world for producing scientists or engineers, according to a report in the Gulf News. Nonetheless, Pakistan lags far behind in fields connected to the arts. Parents handle their children’s careers in a very conventional manner. In Pakistan, young people often have two choices. They are either asked to be an engineer or a physician. These two professions are without a doubt excellent and well-paid. But does your youngster desire to be a musician instead of studying engineering?
The majority of Pakistanis believe that the most brilliant people are those who pursue careers in engineering or fields related to science. In addition, people view the medical profession as more reputable than the entertainment industry or the music industry.
In Pakistan, the majority of husbands prefer a female doctor perform any medical treatment on their wife. Similar to this, most fathers are reluctant to enroll their daughter in a coeducational institution. With a few institutions as an exception, Pakistan’s education system is underdeveloped. In certain areas, there aren’t enough resources to support separate institutions for girls. Since their families won’t let them attend high schools or universities with men, the majority of women only receive their “matric pass” in these institutions.
It is against local customs for girls to study with boys in Pakistan’s northern regions or in some smaller cities. Several families won’t even let their daughters take lessons from a male teacher. Whether co-education should be permitted has been the subject of numerous discussions.
Some believe that separate schools are preferable since they prevent the boyfriend/girlfriend culture. A Karachi teacher who opposes the co-educational concept says: I’ve worked in the field of education for a number of years, and I consider teaching to be much more than just a job. “For the past few years, each new class has been worse than the one before, and I don’t believe anyone should send their kids to co-ed schools any longer.”My daughter attends a school for girls only… And I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of enrolling her in a coed educational facility. Many organizations have in the past opposed suggestions or demanded that co-educational schools be completely abolished.
4. Divorced Woman
Marriages can fail for a variety of reasons. A divorced lady is viewed negatively by society and is socially taboo. She may even be held responsible for the divorce by her own family. Such is the hypocrisy that it is not a big thing if a man gets divorced. He can get married and continue living his life. Those with good educations share this viewpoint. Without knowing all the details, people frequently say things such, “She should have adjusted,” or “She must be of low character,” when a marriage ends. A woman’s reputation can be ruined through divorce. resulting in them getting married again, and if they do, it might not work out.
Some others also believe that a woman’s excessive focus on her job is the primary cause of divorce.
In other words, if she neglects the house, her marriage can suffer. Nonetheless, many women manage to juggle job and personal obligations. The shame associated with a divorced lady extends to the following generation. Many people are reluctant to wed the daughter of a divorced lady. “Why did you get divorced and where is the father,” are two examples of classic lines.
5. Children are the Responsibility of a Woman
Men in Pakistani society are typically in charge of putting food on the table. On the other hand, women are expected to parent and raise the kids. Despite a decent mom teaching and caring her child, she is frequently the target of many if things go wrong. When a boy wanders off, it is thought to be the mother’s fault for indulging him. And once more, the mother can be held accountable for her daughter’s misdeeds if she gave her too much freedom. Some men feel that because they put in a lot of effort, women should bear the full burden of raising their children.
Such men must acknowledge that until a child reaches adulthood, both parents are accountable for them. A father occasionally needs to set boundaries and teach his kids about the ups and downs of life.
Ironically, society instinctively assumes that a woman is performing her job when a child is on track. She is also targeted when things don’t go as planned. It requires two people to have a child, barring miracles or highly developed technologies. So, a parent also has a duty. When things don’t go as planned, the lady is frequently used as the scapegoat.
6. Gender Inequality
People are taught to treat both genders equally in Pakistan. The most prevalent social stigma in the nation, however, is gender discrimination. Pakistan’s main areas of gender discrimination are education, sports, politics, the media, marital rights, and daily life. Even a bill with the words “A husband should be permitted to lightly beat his wife if she violates his directives” was put out in Pakistan in 2016.
The Punjab’s Protection of Women From Violence Act of 2015, which was passed to protect women from violent husbands, was the target of this reprisal.
In 2018, Pashtun, Saraiki, and Sindhi women under the age of 18 were the most marginalized, according to a United Nations report. The ratio of women attending higher education is significantly less than that of men. Their way of thinking has formed boundaries thanks to society. In rural places, women are treated like servants.
7. The Stigma of Female Children
Many couples end in divorce because of the newborn child’s sex. In Pakistan, the boy is the symbol of authority. A man is viewed as more powerful in society if he has a larger number of sons.
In Pakistan, having only female offspring carries a societal stigma. Some families are more worried about who will be the future heir to the throne than they are about having a healthy baby.
Many parents desire a son because they believe that having a girl is unlucky. Even some grandparents express greater pride when a boy is born than when a girl does. Comments like “Are you having a baby, Wish its a boy” are fairly popular when a lady is pregnant. Divorce can occur for a variety of reasons, one of which being having several baby daughters.This stigma also pertains to the topic of dowry exchange. When a daughter is born, her father’s thought immediately turns to providing a sizable dowry. With decently educated families, this does not necessarily apply. Yet, it continues to be a hot topic of conversation among rural poor families.
In Pakistan, a family typically spends more than a million pounds on their daughters’ nuptials. Another issue connected to this stigma is the abandonment and infanticide of females. See the Viceland documentary Discarded Daughters, which Maheen Sadiq presented and co-produced, if you have the chance. The burden falls primarily on women because they are frequently mistreated after giving birth to a female. It appears that they are to blame. After the birth of their daughter, some fathers can entirely distance themselves from their child.
8. Mental Health
In Pakistan, emphasis is placed more on physical health than on emotional well-being. In Pakistan, people have the mentality that you should only visit a psychiatrist if you have a brain tumor. The youthful generation must deal with mental health problems like depression on a daily basis.
Also, parents do not view it as a real issue. They are unaware that it can result in other severe ailments. Some people even consider or actually do suicide.
Families sometimes believe that people with mental illnesses are just insane, which makes them feel even more useless. To make matters worse, some families think the subject is under the influence of a jinn or other bad entity.”Iss par toh Jinn ka saaya hai” (He/She is possessed by the devil) is an often-used phrase to describe someone who may be experiencing mental health issues. There are concerning data in the Journal of Pioneering Medical Sciences. According to the report, 34% of Pakistanis suffer from depressed and anxiety disorders. Moreover, depression or other mental disorders are present in 90% of cases of suicide.