The last decade witnessed a major shift in Baloch society as it brought forward numerous Baloch women as role models for the nation. In spite of facing turmoil and conflict, women have very actively participated in all spheres of life ranging from political resistant, promotion of education to social reforms. Today, Baloch women can be seen in every field of life striving to be socially and economically accepted and empowered.

Nothing happens overnight. Change requires efforts and patience in a society that is bound by its cultural traditions and crippled by economic hardships.  In a society where challenging cultural norms is uncommon, it is revealing to see how women from such backgrounds are emerging as major influences on the society. Harsh circumstances sometimes play a dominant role in leading to such positive social changes. This is exactly what has happened with the Baloch people. The social and political conditions of the previous decades have forced the women to participate in almost every field of life starting with education and preceding to the political battlefield.

The shockingly low literacy rate in Balochistan has compelled the people to be more active than the government. In Gwadar, for instance, there was only one private school until 2002 but now, by the virtue of the initiatives taken by educated people of the community, the literacy rate is gradually rising.

The literacy rate among men and women might not be equivalent but still it is always better than not making any progress at all. What was previously seen as the low level of literacy among females is now rapidly increasing year by year. Besides being incredible entrepreneurs, the Baloch women are also writers and poets. They are serving their mother tongue as well as bringing the nation’s issues in front of the world. Meanwhile, amid rough educational and critical economic circumstances, they are implausible artists with outstanding quality of their embroidery which is well-known all over the world.

Not only are the Baloch women serving as teachers and doctors, but they are also joining professions like law to defend people’s rights. Remarkably, the most incredible example would be the participation of Baloch women in the significant political resistant. Today Baloch women are willingly a part of a historic march seeking justice and raise awareness against human rights violations being carried out in Balochistan for decades.

In present, a great number of Baloch women are increasingly aware of every social and civic aspect of life. They are an effective part of it as well. Their authenticity towards attempting for sustainable development within the province has been proved by each step they have taken. The continuation of maintaining their cultural appearance in every stage of life has illustrated an exceptional example. They are change-makers but retainers of their cultural heritage as well.

Baloch women, by being very active and involved in various walks of life, have proven that they can still overcome the existing obstacles on their path toward getting education and achieving economic empowerment. There is a lack of educational institutions and it is squandering females’ ability to join the practical life and workforce.

If there are more educational opportunities, there will surely be more writers, doctors, teachers, journalists and lawyers. More educational institutions also means opening up windows of such new occupations for Baloch women which were inaccessible to them in the past due to various hurdles.

Finally, it is reassuring to celebrate the contributions of our women who are either active for community development of working on the political arena to fight for justice. They have undoubtedly instilled optimism among the Baloch nation and its women. Their contributions are laudable and highly helpful in introducing our motherland to the rest of the world.

Mariyam Suleman

Mariyam Suleman

Mariyam Suleman is the founder and editor of the Balochistan Review. She contributes for The Balochistan Point, Pak Voices and Dawn as a freelance writer from Gwadar and holds a Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of Karachi.
She tweets at @mariyamsuleman
Mariyam Suleman

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