In high school, Bibi didn’t deal with the same type of gossip as many CU Boulder women did. Rather than just drama about cliques and boyfriends, Bibi also heard this:
“Should a girl be out at this hour? Shouldn’t she be home helping?”
Bibi is a woman in Pakistan who has never let cultural tradition keep her from getting her degree. Despite living in a country with regions that don’t invest in women’s education, Bibi is achieving her goals and encouraging other women to do the same.
Currently, Bibi is getting her Master’s in Archeology on a full-ride scholarship from Kapadia Education Foundation – a non-profit that provides scholarships to students in developing countries. When she isn’t in class, Bibi hosts seminars to create awareness around brutality towards women and children, and to teach women how to exercise their rights. Unfortunately, not every woman in Pakistan has had the opportunity to create change like Bibi is. As of 2018, 32% of primary school age girls were not in school in Pakistan, and by 9th grade, only 13% of girls were still in school. There are a lot of reasons for this, but Bibi shed light on a few of the cultural factors.
Gender roles in Pakistan are dependent on the developmental status of the region. Some of Bibi’s friends have become doctors, while others are stay-at-home mothers. However, the choice between homemaking and pursuing a paying job is not always a straightforward decision for Pakistani women. They can feel looked down upon, or personally guilty, for abandoning their domestic roles to follow a more metropolitan way of living. Not only this, but sometimes women are unable to pursue anything but homemaking. They can be banned from going to school by their fathers, and if a woman tries to protest, she’s considered disrespectful.
These factors, and many others, are part of the reason that 40% of Pakistani women work outside the home, as opposed to 81% of men.
Bib is working to change this statistic. In five years, she hopes to give more students the opportunity to go to college by donating to Kapadia Education Foundation, and she will also continue hosting seminars about female empowerment.
“A man’s education is for himself but education of a woman is for her entire family and community, and that is why it is so powerful.” –Bibi
Bibi is the perfect example of a powerful woman. Not to mention, those who used to gossip about her are now the same people who ask her for advice. Helping these people motivates Bibi to continue her educational journey, as she empowers others to do the same.