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Challenges in the workplace: working women in Pakistan

Woman in a man's world: Kazmi is Pakistan's first female cabbie

Pakistan is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of women joining its workforce. But the country is grappling with physical, psychological and sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

Afsheen*, an air hostess with the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), recalls when she was selected to work with the airline company. She was briefed on how to keep passengers satisfied, but the introductory training did not include any clues on how to keep the pilots “happy.”

A few months later, the pilots called her and her colleagues to go to the cockpit. “They would touch us on the back and the chest intentionally, and pretend it was a mistake,” she remembers. Things got worse when pilots started demanding sexual favours during flights and on the ground, and managed to get some too.

Date

20.12.2011 | 15:02

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‘Let me enjoy my rights as gays do’

Wearing a headscarf is a conscious decision for most Muslim women

Wearing a headscarf is a personal decision for many Muslim women, but where does one draw the line between being forced to follow a tradition and asserting one’s own identity?

“There are so many gays, for example, and people tell them that they should be more open about their feelings, but if someone comes along and says ‘we want to show our religion,’ everybody is against it.” This is Sarah Benkhera’s answer to a question about the ban on headscarves imposed in France and some other European countries a few years ago. She is a German of Algerian origin and wears a “khimar”, a kind of cloak that covers her head and goes all the way down to her waist.

Sarah is accompanied by her friends, women in their early twenties, who are dressed in ordinary jeans and pullovers, in stark contrast to Sarah’s long black robes. They are quite

Date

20.12.2011 | 0:53

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India’s dying mothers

India has abnormally high numbers of maternal mortality

A poor health care system and lack of education is severely crippling India’s struggle in reducing maternal mortality. Resorting to traditional methods might give a hope of rescuing at least some victims.

Hansa, a 22-year-old mother of two, living in Matel village in district Rajkot, Gujarat is yet another victim. Her fate was like thousands of pregnant women in India who die because of poor health care facilities.

“This was her third pregnancy”, relates her husband’s aunt. “Hansa developed some problem in the fifth month of her pregnancy and her husband came to me late in the evening asking me to come to their home.”

She says that Hansa had been bleeding for 4 days and they put her in a ‘Chakda’ (make shift three wheeler) having no

Date

19.12.2011 | 23:20

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