Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Disaster strains the physical and cultural needs of women in Pakistan

Pakistan floods: 'Cultural shock' for women in camps
Health and sanitation is a big issue. One camp set up in a government building had no bathing facility. Whereas the men and young children can take baths outside on the school lawn, women don't have that option. Many people didn't have a chance to pick up their belongings when the floods hit their village so they have no change of clothes. Many are wearing what they left home in and without being able to wash and women's hygiene in particular has deteriorated. The situation is even worse for menstruating and pregnant women.

The camps are also culturally shocking for women and girls. Many have never been around a man who isn't a member of their family. Now they are amongst hundreds of men who are complete strangers.
It's not just a matter of physical health and saftely, either:
In some sectors of Pakistan society, apart from the religious notions of covering up and not mingling with males outside one's family, women are considered to be the custodians of male and family honour.

This notion of honour is linked with women's sexual behaviour so their sexuality is considered to be a potential threat to the honour of family. Therefore, the systems of sex segregation known as purdah are used by the society to protect the honour of the family.
Let us hope aid and recovery come sooner than later. The scope of this disaster is immense, and the health and safety of everyone, especially women and children, are precarious.

No comments: