The Convenience of Subservience: Women and the State of Pakistan



The relationship between women and the state in Pakistan has been both compelling and paradoxical. After nearly a decade of state-sponsored attempts at stifling women’s voices in the public arenas and pushing back the boundaries of their social visibility, Pakistan has become the first state in the Islamic world to have a woman prime minister. A state media which until yesterday poured scorn upon articulate and assertive women is today faithfully and respectfully projecting the voice and person of Benazir Bhutto. In so far as the role of women in Muslim societies has symbolic connotations, it is tempting to see Benazir Bhutto’s advent as something of a psychological ‘revolution’. A Western cartoonist hinted as much while portraying her in an impish mood asking a line of attendants veiled from head to toe: ‘How do you like your new outfits, Gentlemen?’1


Muslim Woman Muslim Society Pakistani Woman Islamic Morality National Assembly 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

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