In many cultures where traditional values still hold sway, women and girls are still viewed as property and less than men and boys.
Khalida Brohi is originally from Pakistan, where she was viewed as less than because she is female. In the world that she grew up in, honor is often dependent on the women in the family. Young girls are socialized early to work in the home and are married off without their consent.
Her memoir, published this year, is entitled I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan. From the time she was very young, Ms. Brohi understood the concept of arranged marriage. Her own parents were chosen for each other at the young ages of 9 and 13 and she was nearly betrothed even before she was born. Though her parents lived a traditional life in one sense, in another sense, they were non-conformists. Her father believed in educating all of his children, regardless of sex and refused to marry his daughters off before they reached adulthood.
Ms. Brohi’s life forever changed when her cousin was killed by her uncle in an honor killing. The experience of losing her cousin in such a horrific manner inspired her activism to change how women are perceived and treated in Pakistan.
I loved this book. Though the story is specific to the author, I feel like it is universal. Though women have made incredible steps to equality, we have a long way to to go. But with women like Ms. Brohi, we will one day eradicate the idea that women are less than men.
The thing that struck me most about this book is that Ms. Brohi brings up the fact that honor killings exist not to protect the honor of the family, but to ease the ego of the men in the family. When one person degrades or puts down another person, its is solely to sooth the ego of the person who is doing the bullying. Women have just as much ability, talent and drive as men. Over the course of human history, we have been seen as less than when compared to a man not because we were not capable, but to sooth their egos.
I absolutely recommend it.