What it’s like to be a single woman at 32 in Pakistan

Success is gender based in Pakistan – a fact no one will address or stand up against

What it’s like to be a single woman at 32 in Pakistan

I once met a “potential marriage prospect” for coffee, where he told me how he hired someone for Rs4 million just to hear him snore and come late to meetings. I secretly desire to be this drunkard fool who he had flown into theparty all night. This is because, in the end, the patience and support I gave were demolished by my flaws. I am alone, working sleepless nights and not making close to that amount by snoring in a boardroom meeting.

Success to me was if I had love to give and sharewith.So in the past, I never felt content with anything. That’s where I started to compromise and failed. He could be forgiven, but I was a liability.

I have a lot of catching up to do business wise now that I managed to run out of men to meet. Because you know, I’m old and all that jazz.

I’m far from this strong, angry, independent soul that society in Pakistan seems to box me in. More than a career I desired a husband, a family and a home of my own. However, life seemed to push me to be the best in business. At 32, I’m a successful adult who exceeded far from the expectations of the voices of the past. For what I personally had to overcome and struggle with, that is what feels like success to me.

If I wanted to do something, I did it. I do and still, take on multiple jobs and do not care if people call me unfocused or all over the place. I just wanted to win and what I was or am doing at the time. Most of my own relatives think I can’t support myself because they would be shocked if they ever found out how much I do in a day.

Just to let you know, this is the first time I am actually bragging about my achievements because I never thought of them as such. I love mybusiness, but the key to a lifelong partnership could not be found in a PowerPoint presentation.

But do you think at the age of 32 I’m out of time? That it’s too late for me to find love and all that?

It is asociety that is the problem, where working for companies even leading my own is a tough job. It is tougher when you are a woman. And there is always a reason why you have to be better than a man. Because, if you mess up you will be crucified for your gender.

If you are direct and firm, you’re “too bossy”. If you are confident, “you’re arrogant”. If you are frustrated by the lack of professionalism around you, well, “you’re too stressed out”.

Best of all, if you are single or divorced, there is something wrong with you. And I have heard people declare this about women firmly in Pakistan that after a certain age an unmarried woman is a burden or has mental issues. So it is alright to be harassed or bullied or not taken seriously.

Would you think the same of a Pakistani man? Are you going to ask him if he is running out of time to “find love”?

I may never get married. I may never be listed the best of the best in the business section of even a local paper. But I am not unique.

There are so many women out there married, unmarried, fresh graduates or students, that are not respected or given the salary or credit a man does. They are nitpicked and bullied for daring to be a part of a workforce or an entrepreneur.

Take my resume and see through the lines, I can do a lot. Women everywhere in Pakistan have multiple hats, and more experience than males do just to prove their worth. No one talks about it, but this is the truth.Even in a family business, a man who is an outsider can be a king compared to you.

But I had to write a whole paragraph justifying I want to settle down because let’s face it. Our value is how much importance we give to matrimony and a family, not our skills.

The writer is an entrepreneur and a freelance journalist. She can be reached at nefer.s@outlook.com