My father visited us in USA earlier this year.
This was his first time visiting USA. He noticed the same things about USA that I did when I came to USA.
Yes, I too noticed that there were women working everywhere in USA. In stores, in malls, in schools, and almost everywhere.
“What do their men do?” I wondered
My father said something very interesting, “Why do you say that women are free in USA? what kind of freedom is this? I feel sorry for women here.”
I was slightly confused, “why father?”
He said, “Baychari, poor American women work all day. Our women stay home like Queens”.
I realized that how absolutely correct he was!
I come from a family where every woman worked, my mom was a high school teacher and all other women of the family were either doctors or teachers, the only two professions that were considered respectful for women until only fifteen years ago.
There is a huge number of women in Pakistan who do not work and it is not as class specific either.
Non-working queens of Pakistan belong to every class.
In Pakistan, it is considered a man’s responsibility to bear the expenses of a household.
In an average family, only father or head of the house works and wife with five children stays home.
It is a husband’s responsibility to buy a house, pay all the bills and pay for the private schools for kids. And in many households, men also support their old parents and any younger siblings that still might be in school or unmarried.
In other words, less than one third of the population of Pakistan work and the rest of them stay home and eat off the working ones.
Experts have done several research studies on this and they say that it is not a coincidence that the countries that keep their women inside the house are the poorest countries in the world.
You are not using half or more of your labor when you make a set up like that.
Most women in Pakistan are still raised to be housewives.
Even if they are sent to school, their ultimate goal remains finding a wealthy and well established husband for themselves.
Although things are changing in Pakistan but women who are raised like men having ambitions and goals are still not many in number.
Many times even those women who go to professional schools become stay home moms after marriage.
It is just an automatic assumption that earning money is not a woman’s responsibility.
In fact, not a very long ago, it was considered an insult to a man’s ego if his wife worked.
Although things are changing very fast and most educated guys want a wife who would also contribute to household income, still, if a wife chooses to not work but stay home, it is widely accepted and is not questioned.
Maids or servants (a word not used in USA) are common in Pakistan. So, most of these wives have help with household work.
I wonder what these queens do all day?
Their bills are magically paid every month. Their houses are magically bought for them. They buy gold jewelry every year, their vacations are paid for and they have drivers to take them around.
Even here in USA , many Pakistani women do not work and stay home. Pakistani tradition continues here.
If an American man keeps his wife home, it is understood that he is doing a huge favor.
Pakistani men living in USA feel that it is their responsibility to provide for the family.
Which in a way is a good thing. Many wives do their share in marriage here though.
Unlike Pakistan, here we do not have servants. House wives here clean the houses, do laundry, take kids to school, take kids to all of their activities and pay all the bills (with their husband’s money).
I am all for making it all husband’s responsibility, but the fact that this is one of the reasons of our poverty in Pakistan , we should definitely try to change things in Pakistan.
We need to use our women for work and not only for reproduction.
Studies have shown that this will help our nation be richer in general.
Five or seven people eating off one working person is what is keeping us poor.
College going kids also should do part time jobs in addition to their college.
And let me tell you, it is a lot of fun to work outside the house. It stimulates you intellectually,
you make your own decisions, you are somebody and when you have your own money, you are your own king.
Every Queen needs king’s permission in daily matters but if you are your own king, you do not need anyone’s permission and that is not so bad. You can get used to a life style in which you are intellectually stimulated, have your own set of friends, have your own name and are not Mrs. Akram or Mrs. SAHHBAZ. You can be Shazia, Aliya, Saima or Sadaf.
Then you share household work with your husband since you also contribute to household income.
If you work, you have your own life and individual personality and you are not a burden on your husband or on society and you become a productive citizen.
Think about it.
It all has to start with education.
We have to let our women get out of the houses as freely as men do. We have to let them go to school and we have to let them make money.