International Women’s Day 2018
Every year on March 8th citizens of the world unite to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The spotlight is shown on women to allow them to share their stories of struggles and accomplishments. International Women’s Day was started in 1909 when 15,000 women gathered in New York and marched for equality. Equality on all fronts: pay, working hours, and voting rights just to name a few. Through the years this day has been cheered on annually and was made official by the United Nations in 1975. International Women’s Day is a necessary celebration of women from all walks of life. Having said that, the importance of this day is beyond gender meaning that in order for women to have real, genuine, equality men must be completely comply also. The theme for each year is always changing. In 2017 it was #BeBoldForProgress, this year it’s: #PressForProgress.
We here at Just4Girls believe in motivating and educating everyone when it comes to gender equality. Following this years theme – #PressForProgress we have started an initiative of our own to share stories of real women in Pakistan. We are naming women who have gone above and beyond to help their community. Our first story will highlight a courageous woman named Rasheeda. Rasheeda comes from a small village called Gharo in Sindh, Pakistan. Nearly three years ago a free school named Nazar Bhatti & Shahida Mehboob Memorial School was opened in this village. For the first year there was only one teacher for all the students his name is Ghulam Rasool, the husband of Rasheeda. From the first day the school opened Rasheeda would sit with all the children eager to learn also. As time went on the number of students increased to the point where one teacher would not suffice. Rasheeda could see this burden weighing on her husband, him not being able to give all the students his full attention. One night they came up with incredibly simple, but taboo game plan.
Rasheeda expressed to her husband that she wants to be taught the curriculum the night before so she can help him teach the following day. This plan of action was a brilliant idea and put into works. As soon as she starting teaching the children at school, she was discouraged by nearly all the villagers to continue. With only the support of her husband she continued to teach against her parent’s will and other community members. Although she feared repercussions, she believed in what she was doing and continued teaching. It has now been two years since she has been teaching these students alongside her husband. The fear of what other people might think has now evolved into courage. She now knows that getting educated and then further passing that knowledge on is much more beneficial to her community then sitting idly and being obedient.
Rasheeda has broken barriers in her village and is leading by example. All these little girls who she teaches everyday see a strong, independent, resilient woman. They have a role model to look up and aspire to be like. These victories women are achieving in little villages make a big impact around the world. I am honored to have met Rasheeda. She is one of the many women who are changing the face of Pakistan.