In Pakistan women do not ride bike only men ride. Woman can be found driving a car but it is very unusual or strange that a woman ride a bike or scooty bike. It is taboo in our country. If unexpectedly men come across a woman riding a bike or scooty then this makes them stunned. Men stare at her as if she is doing something unethical.
I encountered the same situation when I was going to saddar. Vehicles stopped at traffic signal, a woman riding a scooty appeared and stopped in front of me. People around her started to stare at her absurdly. Even ladies stared at her and mocked. This is how our people react to these situations. I think this is our national way of reaction. Some found this a source of entertainment. I am sure people must have gossiped these opinions like “isko to dekho zara”, “isko bara shok hai sarskon par nikalne ka” etc. These are the words people choose to describe these women. According to these people, these women deserve these words. These people cannot appreciate a woman invalidating stereotypes and conceive them characterless.
This inapt reaction of our people is an act of disrespecting a woman’s courage. This behavior of our society is an obstacle in the path of empowering woman. People do not perceive what makes woman ride a bike. There may be emergency and no male member available in her family to do a required task. May be she is a widow and being independent to support her children. There can be many serious reasons. These women need appreciation and support not degradation. There are many more women especially widows from middle class want this conveyance to become independent but cannot gather courage to do this because of society’s reaction. A plenty of work can be done by a woman alone without depending on man if she get this conveyance and allowance to ride.
Burden on widows is more than a typical woman and this burden can be reduced if she is not dependent on someone for traveling. Woman must be given some freedom of choosing this conveyance to become independent. This affordable conveyance can help woman a lot. Our government must provide this facility to women especially widows and must take measures to ensure their safety. Woman on bike or scooty is not as such problem as people think. The only problem is inappropriate reaction, full of wickedness, of our society. People must change their mindset and support activities that empowers woman. So next time if you see a woman riding a bike/scooty, then keep your eyes down. I am sure this will be a better way of appreciating her.