Pride is one emotion that stirs up within anyone who considers the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to be their homeland. There are several reasons to be proud of our nation, and among them are the incredible achievements made by Pakistani women. After all, we belong to the nation that has given us Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (a recipient of two Academy awards and six Emmy awards), Muniba Mazari (a wheelchair-bound TV anchor and painter who has been mentioned in Forbes 30 under 30 list), Fiza Farhan (part of United Nations panel of Women Economic Empowerment and Forbes 30 under 30 list), Malala Yousafzai (an activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate), and Benazir Bhutto ( the first woman head of state for a Muslim majority nation and served twice as Prime Minister of Pakistan). Yet we also belong to the nation that opposes the concept of feminism while playing the card known as religion to undermine the real meaning of a movement for equality. We, as citizens of this nation, are a proud bunch, especially due to the above mentioned personalities; yet we set loose when it comes to judging them and many others. Inside almost every home, you’ll find self-claimed religious scholars who don’t hesitate in judging a woman, yet are the same that ogle at them out on the streets. Women in Pakistan have shown tremendous progress in the last few years. With society modernising, women have been attending schools and universities, holding jobs and earning money for quite some time now. Rather than highlighting such facts as an achievement, it shall be noted that these are basic human rights that women have attained through a long struggle. Male chauvinism has engraved itself within the core of our society that threatens to damage the perception of our future generations about gender equality in a rapidly progressing world. That is because in such a patriarchal milieu, women are unfortunately considered merely an object. The sheer impact of gender inequality can be seen in “honour killings”. Qandeel Baloch’s murder starkly highlights the convoluted concept of gender inequality within our nation. She was killed by her own brother, who later claimed that he strangled her because “girls are born to be at home and only follow traditions” The sheer impact of gender inequality can be seen in “honour killings.” Although men also lose their lives because of this gruesome practice, the “honour” killing of Qandeel Baloch starkly highlights the convoluted concept of gender inequality within our nation. She was killed by her own brother, who later claimed that he strangled her because “girls are born to be at home and only follow traditions.” I beg to differ. Where in the Constitution or the Quran is this explicitly written? And if people do choose to follow such a tragic school of thought, is it a mere coincidence that women do not have such an absurd opinion regarding men? The answer of course, is ‘no’. Rather, women have never had much of an opportunity to stand up for themselves in a patriarchal society until now. Another example could be the backlash that Mahira Khan received on social media, when a picture of her smoking went viral. It is tragic to witness how quickly people jump on the bandwagon to judge and shame a woman for dressing up in a certain way, or for her actions, and yet admire a celebrity like Mahira for her acting or her looks. A woman can wear a tank top, shorts and also smoke, but no one has any authority to judge her. If it is wrong under any circumstance, it is her personal problem to deal with. Is a patriarchal society the best judge to decide what women are allowed to do, ethically or morally? Now this article is not against all men; instead it is to highlight the concept of feminism. Feminism’s perception in Pakistan is quite extreme, which takes away from its credibility within our society. This is because feminism is a movement for “gender equality”, yet sometimes it is used to earn privilege disguised as a “right”. Through such a notion, women have at times tried to earn “supremacy” rather than “equality”, and that doesn’t help anyone either, as that further alienates both genders, creating even more differences between men and women in the country. In the age of hashtags on twitter, Facebook and Instagram we have all seen hashtags such as “beat your boyfriend”, “free the nipple”, or “free bleeding” through famous personalities such as Kim Kardashian or Emily Ratajkowski. Instead of actually being implemented in our conservative country, such trends do have the power to influence a woman’s perspective of feminism, and completely alter the true meaning of a movement meant for equality. On the contrary, feminism and gender equality are not defined by these hashtags. They are defined by personalities such as Samina Baig, Zenith Irfan, Shazia Parveen, Jehan Ara or Abida Parveen. They truly define feminism by proving a patriarchal society wrong with their achievements and actions that speak much louder than words. Such personalities show that women too can hoist the Pakistani flag on Mount Everest, complete a journey of the Kashmir belt on a motorbike, be a fire-fighter, create new software, or be the legendary voice of a nation. Gender equality is a concept that needs strengthening in Pakistan, and is desperately needed to progress in a rapidly moving world. It is about time that women were not considered as mere objects and inferior to men. A woman shows some skin in a tank top, and she’d be the victim of shameful abuse by the moral police, whereas a man has many girlfriends, and he’d be considered a stud. There is a reason why there is no concept known as “maleinism” anywhere because the male has dominated society for a long time now, especially when women are stepping up to be equally capable and successful in various fields. However, feminism is not designed to undermine men, many of whom falsely consider it an “act against patriarchy”. In the end, feminism is about equality and not supremacy. We are in dire need to discover a mutual ground for both genders, rather than playing a tug-of-war from a distance. The writer is a Lahore-based high school student Published in Daily Times, August 14th 2018.