From Pakistan excerpts from a powerful piece by Saad Hafiz:
In 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared violence against women as an ‘epidemic global health problem.’ The WHO report highlighted the transnational exploitation and violence towards women and girls. It calculated that one in three women worldwide would experience sexual or physical violence, most often from their husband or male partner. This tragic situation can be attributed to a combination of factors: 1) the toxic male chauvinism that devalues women’s lives 2) a by-product of cultures that accepts violence and harassment against women and 3) an institutionalised misogyny intended to continually violate the rights of women.
Derived from the Greek misogynia (anti-woman), misogyny is an unreasonable fear or hatred of women. Misogyny differs from male chauvinism. The latter supports male political privileges and favours female subjugation in law; misogyny is an emotional prejudice based on phobia or dislike. Misogyny is by no means limited to modern civilisation. It occurred in many kinds of societies, and at all levels of human social organisation, including in the earliest cultures, and at all times in history.
More female leaders would also help to diminish gender barriers by providing other women and girls with visible role models. Women in politics, business, management and education can provide powerful examples for others. Moreover, societies need to value work done in home — in raising families — the same way they value work in the office. Women and men alike face judgment and discrimination for choosing to stay at home with their families instead of remaining in the work force. Furthermore, children must be taught to value equality, to practise respect and to stand up against discrimination.
But changing the male mindset remains the most significant challenge in combating gender exploitation and violence. Powerful cultural change cannot happen when only half of the population works toward that change. We cannot expect real change to occur if we do not teach every citizen the same values of respect and equality.