In this piece Arslan describes what he has noticed about the roles women play in the United States and how that has inspired him to want to make changes for women in Pakistan. Arslan is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) student who is studying hospitality and tourism at Whatcom Community College.
Every day in the United States leads to a unique experience. I’ve been amazed by many things in the U.S. throughout my stay. Being a citizen of a traditionally male dominated society, gender role differences really inspired and surprised me here.
Before coming to the U.S. I did not have an idea about gender equality. I had the mindset that these are only theories and stories about the equal rights in the U.S. However, from my first day until now I am learning how women are active in different fields of life. For instance, I found them working everywhere from college to shopping malls, grocery stores, and restaurants.
What is more, I found that women’s level of thinking and mindset is very different from our society in many ways. For example, I visited a public high school, and I was surprised on how young school girls were very confident and asked questions regarding women’s life styles, education, and equality in Pakistan. Their style of discussion and communication gave me an idea of their equality in families and society. Also, women continue their studies after marriage, and even after having kids. In contrast, commonly Pakistani women stop study after marriage and stay at home as housewives. Through my discussion with women here, I tried to figure out about their perspective on freedom and rights. I found that women are mostly equally treated at work place and in society.
I found that the socialization and healthy environment of empowerment helps women to live their lives in their own ways. The most interesting thing I found is that there is no preference to have a baby boy or baby girl among families; people love to have baby girls, which is a sign of a civilized society. Another very important thing I noticed is that women are not only working in higher level positions, but also work as bus drivers and do hard labor. In Pakistan, these positions are male dominated. In this case, females are not bound to their husbands for finance; they earn their own money and pass their lives happily in the United States. I’ve also noticed that our NWCCI program advisers and director are all female and they work and manage multiple projects on time.
Finally, I would like to say that women can do everything. Indeed, when I was in Pakistan, I loved this quote from USAID’s strategy, “we believe that gender equality and women’s empowerment isn’t a part of development but at the core of development” and I found it true in the United States. I learned that this equal opportunity and freedom makes a difference towards the development of the United States. Without a doubt, the courage and confidence of females inspired me a lot to work, and to makes change for women’s rights and educational development in Pakistan.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.