Women have a dream, too

Global Public Square

By Yasmeen Hassan, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Yasmeen Hassan is Global Director of Equality Now, a non-governmental organization focused on the rights of women and girls. The views expressed are her own.

I grew up in Lahore, Pakistan and witnessed firsthand the destruction of the fiber of a society through discrimination. The introduction in 1979 of so-called Islamic laws effectively made women second class citizens and encouraged myriad forms of violence and discrimination against them. Women’s testimony in many cases became equivalent to half that of a man, women were not able to sign financial documents on their own, and women who were raped were punished under adultery/fornication laws when they could not produce eye witnesses to the rape.

I strongly believe that Pakistan’s current situation, with its economy and infrastructure in shambles and rising terrorism and political instability, stems directly from the decisions made more than…

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