There's a lot of talk surrounding women's empowerment in Pakistan, and actor Humaima Malik is the latest to join the conversation with her video endorsement of the Punjab Women's Protection Bill 2016.
Passed in February 2016, the bill contains remedies for victims of violence, criminalises all forms of violence against women and also provides them with special centers which remove the usual red tape hurdles that complicate a woman’s quest for justice.
The Bol actor's video, while well-intentioned, lacks impact, but it drives home the point that opinion-makers can do a lot more to push for societal changes in women's lives. Watch it here:
The essence of this campaign is to empower women to break the stigma around them fighting for their own rights," says Humaima to Images. "Violence against women needs to stop. It's 2016 and only now has the right to protect yourself as a woman been given a legal platform."
Humaima was approached by the Punjab government to endorse the bill, and she jumped at the opportunity to do so.
"As a woman, I will do everything in my power to tell every girl to imagine what she can be and work towards achieving it. For me, women's empowerment means [protecting] a woman's right to be unapologetically be herself. To find the courage to pursue their dreams without any hurdle or social stigmas. Every woman should find what she's good at, make mistakes and learn from them. To be given an equal chance to fight for what she wants in life. We are finally moving towards an era that recognises this need."
Now that the bill has been passed, what does Humaima feel are the next logical steps that can be taken to protect women from violence?
"I think we all need to act on it," stressed Humaima. "This mindset that men are superior to women and can do whatever they want and get away with it has been entrenched in our society for many years. The only thing that can change this is education, awareness that your rights exist and are your own."
She adds, "Our government and all local bodies should act on every ill this society is inflicted with. Stop people from thinking that they can harm a woman, call it honor and get away with it. We need to change the thinking that's entrenched in our society only then will we see a positive change."