I was sad to see that the market dedicated to women shopkeepers and women shoppers established in Chitral town has been closed down reportedly for lack of interest from women shopkeepers. The reasons could be many but what I see as main reasons are following two:
- The clerics opposed the establishment of such market as they saw it as a source of empowerment of women which would prove a direct challenge to their hegemonic authority over this weaker segment of the society. They are even opposed to women leaving houses for any reason, but can’t stop that after trying, so they opposed the women market tooth and nail.
- The liberals including NGOs and other like minded people, instead of encouraging, tacitly discouraged the said market as according to them women already visit the mixed open markets and clerics have failed to stop them, therefore according to them restricting women to segregated market would be a regressive step.
- The District Administration of the time and the Chamber Of commerce despite starting off with a grand conference full of NGO ladies and bankers appreciating and promising to support the project, abruptly withdrew their support for the project for most probably due to any one or both of the above mentioned reasons
- ?I would nevertheless like to mention that I saw some staunch support for the project from facebook users but in a place like Chitral that does not help much in practical terms.Whatever the reason, a good intended social benefit project has been killed by the apathy of the people who could have helped it.? .. Faridul Haq, Chitral 07 Sep 2017