In societies, women are assumed to be weak, which is why they become victims of abuse too. Women always have to fight for their rights. Their voices are not heard. They are often considered objects of use and control. Because of this, men tend to victimize women. They mistreat and manhandle women. Men bound women to their homes and prefer to choose every step for them. In many communities, women lack the freedom to move and work. This is a sad situation of our world. Despite being so progressive, we are still stuck in the old, rigid and fixed ideas from the past. We need to speak up against gender inequality.For this problem we will discuss this series that is purely to tackle gender inequality.
The act itself is not related to one or two countries. Every 1 out of 10 girls is a victim of abuse. Gender inequality has been prevailing though we call ourselves the modern age. Despite the movements, and protests, we still see abuses against women in Pakistan. To address this, SOC films collaborated with the Centre of Education and Consciousness. The aim was to produce an animated series ‘Siyani Saheliyan’. This series would highlights the critical issues underlying our society.
A Little Background of the Series
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi or the Centre of Education and Consciousness is a non-profit organization. It is working towards women empowerment and education. The institute, built in 2000, runs programs promoting technology for girls. The aim is to provide education for underprivileged girls. These girls would do not have access to education.
ITA is Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahii. It has certification by the Pakistan Centre of Philanthropy. ITA is also accepted by UN ECOSOC as Special Consultants. These awards helped them gain acknowledgement.
ITA has worked on many projects since 2000. It has educated over 36000 girls in south Punjab only. Sharmeen Obaid’s concepts were pivotol for this organization. Her documentaries inspired the concept. She is a journalist and a filmmaker, who decided to picture the mission of ITA to increase its outreach.
Sharmeen Obaid is a Pakistani-Canadian journalist. She is famous for her depiction of society through her writings. The journalist has covered many global issues to give voice to the silent. She speaks the language of those who are not vocal about their abuse and fear the society to address their issues.
Sharmeen has received two Academy Awards for her contribution to these critical issues. She has been vocal about gender inequality and how women are treated less in our society. She has directed and produced many others apart from Siyani Saheliyan that have received much appreciation.
Her portrayal of honor killing in Pakistan in her movie ‘A Girl in the River’ has led her to win an Oscar.
Siyani Saheliyan is not your ordinary cartoon film. It is an animated series that pinpoints domestic violence that women had to face and are still facing during the pandemic.
Women have faced abuse in every form. Adolescent girls in particular have fallen prey to domestic violence rapidly during the lockdown.
The CoronaVirus Pandemic hit Pakistan differently. Lockdowns were imposed and are still under observance in some areas. This led to women being burdened with more work while ignoring their basic rights to education, freedom, and livelihood.
The animated series aims to address and debunk the following issues through the movie:
Girls, caged during the lockdown, have minimal reach to education. They work as house cleaners or do house chores. There is nothing bad about doing house chores. But what is shameful is that we get them so busy with other work that they do not have time left for themselves.
Lack of Training and Skills
We are the people who say we do not have any objection to gender equality. But at the same time, we do not give them proper reach to education and other training programs.
Women from underprivileged areas lack the skills to earn. They are so preoccupied with house chores that they do not have time to invest in themselves. To learn something new, to acquire a skill and to sell it, to be a professional worker is unknown to many. This message is present in the series of animations of Siyani Saheliyan.
Girls in south Punjab have responsibilities at a minor age. In this age, the girls should be focusing on education and learning. But, they spend that time running errands.
Today, little girls do labor work that does not have a positive impact on their future. This leads to restriction of mental capabilities. These adolescent girls should be exploring their inner potential. They should learn new things and try out adventures. Instead, they have no self-awareness, which makes their future not so bright.
How Siyani Sahelian will Tackle Gender Inequality?
Gender Inequality is on the rise. Not enough is being done to address and deconstruct this underlying issue. Though we have modernized, we do not cut the women of our society some slack.
Siyani Saheliyan has turned out to be a great initiative by Sharmeen Obaid. It was about time that we needed a visual representation of domestic abuse and gender inequality and how to get rid of it.
We talk a lot about women’s empowerment but Siyani Sahelian has shown us the way. There are four full-length episodes of Siyan Saheli. The characters show the struggles that girls face. The character goes through a journey. She finds out the ways to tackle them through her potential.
One thing important to notice is that women and girls have to travel their journey by themselves. It is their journey and no one else can cover the distance for them. The journey of struggles, hardship, and challenges will only make them stronger. They will not be able to find out their hidden potential until they start walking on the path. This path would lead them to their success.