Weekly Reflections:Case for gender harmony
BY Dr Abdul Saboor
Celebrating the Woman Day has become more a festival rather than an intellectual movement
for gender harmony in Pakistan. Attention to core issues of women has been diverted for
perhaps we merely take borrowed narratives of gender science. Some of these irrational and
illogical narratives have put men and women on conflict and confrontation. When the “divide
and rule” strategy has been failed in other fronts, it is now being tested in the name of feminism
and women empowerment. There is no dearth of innocent writers and pseudo-intellectuals to
carry forward the foreign agendas.
This is the most common misconception and false impression among masses that women rights
are always subjugated at the hands of men folk. Surely, nobody has an answer of universal
questions that how many sons have subjugated the rights of their mothers; how many fathers
have denied the flow of love towards their daughters and how many brothers have shown
animosity towards their sisters. Why we are forgetting daughters, mothers, sisters and wives
who always feel proud of their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands martyred in the battle field.
Human nature and human psychology is totally ignored in discussing the narratives of gender
The surname of gender is humanity which surely demands graceful treatment of both men and
women in their respective positions. Men have their specific rights and responsibilities; so are
for the women but they are superior to men in many respects. They are superior because they
enjoy a unique instinct of devotion and dedication in the framework of loyalty. Their eminence
lies in their offering of best reward for everything they are provided.
If they are given a smile, they offer their hearts. If they are praised, they become modest. If
they are offered security, they become ready to sacrifice their life. If they are granted
confidence, they bring whole of their wealth in the foot of others. You provide them a house
and they will return a sweet home. Besides enjoying an exclusive moral fabric of life, they are
the source of bringing birth of mankind including Allah’s Prophets, pious people and mystics.
This is a special blessing of Allah Almighty the men folk could ever imagine. In respect of such
a bounty and superiority, women’s love for humanity is a myopic reflection of Allah’s affection
which contains love loaded of 70 mothers.
Sometimes flaws in laws and institutional failure are causing problems in maintaining the legal
rights of women. But it is wrongly labeled as an issue of gender discrimination. If gender A is
being discriminated by gender B, there is very likely that gender C is showing biases against B
and gender A is clearly discriminating gender D. These A, B, C and D may be men or women
depending on the diversified socio-cultural and economic situations. This is the simple
algorithm of gender science.
Very interestingly, majority of the women folk are being deprived of their rights by some
women for being natural element of jealousy. Similarly, at some occasion, hypocrisy is
reflected from the discriminatory treatment of men folk towards their mothers and wives. This
character of men folk is largely associated to their narrow social exposure rather than the
narrative of their domination. And whenever there is male domination at some point of life, this
may otherwise be meant for offering sacrifice in favour of females.
In our socio-religious system, men are so tuned in offering respect to women as no other
society can provide a match of this exclusive nature. This kind of special respect is totally
missing when men deal with other men and women interact with other women. At some
occasions, even yearlong conflict is evaporated when women come in the forefront between
two male dominating groups and show high level of wisdom. Similarly, when a female requests
a male for accomplishing a task, as per value system, the latter considers it his moral duty to
obey the direction. In the same fashion, adult and old ladies always keep motherly attitude
towards young boys and offer a bouquet of prays to them. No narrative of gender science talks
of such beautiful characteristics of both men and women. These attributes beautify the civic
and domestic relationship between men and women, and thus a level play field is created for
gender harmony in all spheres of life.
The punch line in the whole gender harmony lies in accounting for the economic and non-
economic contribution of both the genders in the domain of their respective positions and
potential. Why the new generation is being trained in such a way that they want equality among
man and woman when Nature has created her with an extra-ordinary potential vis-à-vis man.
Why we are ignoring her implicit role in the generation of economic growth. A significant
proportion of contribution of men’s work in GDP is owed to women in the very implicit sense.
Her role in parenting is dominant; her role in maintaining the health of her children is
unmatchable. Similarly there is hidden economics of her domestic chores which implicitly
contribute in the economy though not truly accounted for in GDP.
Very unfortunately, the West has already made a failed experiment of diverting the magnificent
superiority of women into shocking inferiority which has ultimately created gender disparity
rather than gender harmony. They were the princess and queens of their houses but thrown in
the deep sea of capitalism where they confront the issues of labor exploitation and wage
discrimination. Moreover, the magnificent status of their matrimonial life was transformed to
“living together”. The splendor of spouse was converted into dogma of friendship. With
various philosophical doctrines, the Laws of Nature were broken and they were redirected to be
a material commodity.
Finally, all men and women were offered freedom to do whatever they like. This “freedom” is
being ruthlessly used against their natural instincts. Physical power of men and sympathetic
feelings of women are not being honored and rightly capitalized. The odd adjustment of right
women in wrong places and wrong men in important positions led to disharmony across all
genders. The economy thus sees inefficiency, ineffectiveness and low productivity which
further faded the case for gender harmony.
The dream of a harmonized society can be materialized if we make efforts to maintain the
natural beauty of humanity by honoring the unique capabilities of men and women. We must
realize the fact that they are same in the lingo of humanity but not similar in terms of chemistry
of human body. Neither mother can be replaced with father nor brother with sister. It is their
natural instinct to be treated in similar rather than same way. We should stop making efforts of
revival of manhood in womanhood and improvement of womanhood in the pattern of
manhood. Women have diamond composition while men have gold composition. We will have
to treat them in their unique ranks and titles.
Gender geometry can only be squared if anything which is important for men should equally be
taken significant for women keeping their natural demands in view. Injustice would arise if
equals (all men or all women) are treated unequally and unequals (men and women) are treated
equally. Nature has done complete justice by granting all women the same physical and meta-
physical fabric. Similarly all men are of same chemical nature. If anyone of the genders would
try to break the fundamental Laws of Nature, his or her peace is evaporated. As human being
both deserve equal treatment but men demand ordinary dealing while women desire for
extraordinary healing. Both are nobles in their unique trajectories. One may be nobler than the
other – the one who obeys Nature or the one who is closer to Allah.
Dr Abdul Saboor is Professor of Economics and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, PMAS Arid Agriculture