Pakistan: Gender discrimination in school books
The book depicts women and men as patriarchal.
A father and his son are doing homework sitting on the sofa and mother and daughter are sitting on the ground. In Pakistan, the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf amended the country's National Curriculum (SNC) in August this year and said that this amendment was "A milestone in the path of ending inequality in the education system" but the new curriculum book has been criticized by many on social media since its release. He says that the book depicts women and men as patriarchal. This ideology-based outrage follows the lines of criticism of the curriculum by education experts, activists, and the general public. They say it has failed to include gender equality, religious minorities, and cultural diversity. In a statement, the Women's Action Forum described the SNC as "based on ideological imperatives rather than educational imperatives" and said it would "sow the seeds of divisive thinking" on the cover of a fifth-grade English book featuring a father-son duo. There is a picture studying on the sofa while the mother and daughter are studying on the ground. Mother and daughter have also covered their heads with hijab.
Most of the book covers also show small girls wearing hijab. Generally, girls start wearing hijab after puberty or puberty. The same book also describes women leaders as "supporters of men". Girls and women are mainly depicted as mothers, daughters, wife, and teachers, beyond reality. There are no pictures of him in the pictures of playing and exercising. Only boys can be seen playing and exercising. In the pictures in which the girls have been given place, they are seen as mere spectators.
Bela Raza Jameel, CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) Center asks, "Girls and women in Pakistan are showing the best performance in sports at the moment. They are representing the country in Olympic Games. Like K2 climbing mountains. So why are the books excluding them from physical activity and competitive sports instead of reflecting it?" Activist and sociologist Nida Kirmani told DW that the messages are being conveyed in these books about girls' clothing. He has come only after the messages given by the government about the dignity and clothes of women. Recently, people's anger against Prime Minister Imran Khan erupted when he blamed his dress for the increasing sexual violence against women. Kirmani says, “It seems that these books are talking about the same type of dress for all girls and women,
She points out that SNC's ultra-right supporters are deflecting criticism by choosing similar examples and trying to give credence to an agenda in the curriculum that is designed to appease Pakistan's religious right-wing supporters. ITA's Jameel also said that women in Pakistan are disproportionately affected by the already discriminatory practices, indicating that normalizing head coverings there could lead to further violence against them. Tariq Banuri, a former chairman of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, told DW that the lack of representation of women, religious minorities and cultural diversity in the SNC will increase divisions among people and "muddle" the country's education system. "The danger is that another generation here will not be able to question what we are learning. This is a fatal problem." The southern province of Sindh has rejected the SNC and called it "ludicrous" and "sexist". (Disease).