Imran Khan knows nothing about motherhood and feminism, so we wrote him a cheat sheet

Imran Khan knows nothing about motherhood and feminism, so we wrote him a cheat sheet

Here are 4 lessons Imran Khan badly needs to learn about this whole feminism motherhood situation
19 Jun, 2018

"A mother has the biggest influence on children... I disagree with this western concept, this feminist movement, it has degraded the role of a mother. My mother had the greatest impact on my life."

These comments made by PTI chief Imran Khan during a televised interview have drawn ire on social media, with commentators saying he has misinterpreted feminism's take on motherhood.

Has he? Yep.

Since Imran Khan proved he knows nothing about feminism and motherhood, we decided to write him a cheat sheet with a few handy hints.

Here's what he needs to learn:

1) The most feminist country in the world also has the best laws protecting working mothers

Yep, we're talking about Iceland. We suspect Imran Khan, like many Pakistanis, equates 'the west' with the United States and Britain, and in doing so ignores more progressive countries that top global rankings for gender equality.

Like Iceland, which for many years has been number one on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index.

One of the ways Iceland has achieved this is by passing legislation that protects working mothers and grants new parents parental leave for up to 9 months. The government in Iceland covers parental leave for birth, adoption and foster care for all employees in Iceland, and each parent receives 80% of their salary while on leave.

Parents have the option to split the time of parental leave or however they see fit. This means that the burden of childcare is not placed solely on the mother; this leads to a healthier and more supportive child-rearing experience for both parents and children.

We wonder... if Imran Khan really wants to support mothers, is he ready to take a cue from one of the world's most feminist countries and pass federal legislation extending paid maternity leave?


2) Feminists have been at the forefront of the fight to have childcare recognised and respected as unpaid labour

Imran Khan has one thing right: being a mother is an incredibly important job.

It is also an incredibly challenging job, one where your boss (baby) expects you to always be on call, pull all-nighters, wake up early and sacrifice your sleep and social life to keep them happy. Expect for one tiny little factor: as a mother you're not expected to ask for compensation for this most difficult of responsibilities.

Modern feminists have been at the forefront of conversations that demand that women's labour at home ought to be taken as seriously as a man's day at the office. When feminists fight for better rights for mothers, they fight for better maternity leave policies in order to ensure that a new mother's labour is financially compensated, better government sponsored daycare, better psychological support for new mothers and more.

Since Imran Khan believes that motherhood is so important, we hope he will also recognise that most women in Pakistan perform this all-important task with little or no material or financial support from the government or from their workplaces. We hope he is ready to provide that support.

3) Feminists don't say motherhood is the wrong choice. They say it isn't the ONLY choice.

Oftentimes people who hold the views that Imran Khan holds also believe that feminism is a motherhood-hating monster that would rejoice if all women became barren.

This is not so.

Feminists are not at war with motherhood; however, they are at war with patriarchy's notion that motherhood is the ONLY viable life path for women.

When you put motherhood on a lofty pedestal and insist it is the highest honour a woman can achieve, you're participating in the devaluation of women who cannot have children or who simply choose not to have children -- and that is wrong.

Plenty of women who don't have children have lived great, memorable lives and achieved truly inspiring goals. We're thinking of Oprah, Helen Mirren, Angela Merkel, Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Steinem and more.

Also, plenty of men choose to not be fathers. In history and popular culture men who are childless are celebrated as 'rebels' or 'free spirits' or 'creative geniuses' whereas women who are childless are viewed as 'sad' or 'unlucky' or 'incomplete.' What gives?

And on that note...

4) Feminism asks that we not view mothers as the 'only' caretakers of children.

Take a closer look at Imran Khan's glorification of motherhood and you'll see that something appears to missing. What is it?


Glorifying motherhood is the most manipulative tool in patriarchy's arsenal; it justifies male disinterest in parenthood by lumping every responsibility on women and calling it an honour.

Most often invoked by men who have little daily interaction with their children or families, this glorification of motherhood is just another way of saying "I don't think caring for my children is the best use of my time."

If feminism is against anything, it is against the double standards that exist in child-rearing. Feminism doesn't degrade the role of mothers, it insists that fathers take responsibility for the life they helped create.


zeeshan Jun 19, 2018 09:54am
Thank you for writing this wonderful 'cheat sheet'. Please, some one print it out in bulk and send it to Bani Gala for distribution among PTI ticket holders as well as head honcho, Imran Khan.
UZI Jun 19, 2018 10:02am
So funny to look at these lefty liberals defending the theory of feminism. It started out as a movement for emancipation and equality of opportunities for women, but has morphed into a male-bashing platform that calls for preferential treatment of women and undermines the inherent biological differences between men and women. IK is absolutely correct in pointing out that feminist movement is detrimental to the female masses all over. It has served the privileged few that vehemently support it in its current form.
na ji na Jun 19, 2018 10:06am
And this guy is the front runner to lead this country.
illawarrior Jun 19, 2018 10:29am
well said!
Aziz Jun 19, 2018 11:07am
Bowled over!
mansoor mubeen Jun 19, 2018 11:49am
par excellence. beautiful write up. hats off.
k p rao Jun 19, 2018 01:58pm
But he knows about husbandhood and fatherhood. Rught?
ivehadit Jun 19, 2018 04:00pm
this is just shameless pandering. he knows better than this.
salahuddin Jun 19, 2018 04:03pm
well said whoever has given the points regarding the statement of Imran khan but according to my point of view mother has a paramount position in the society rather than giving just the label of Feminism.
Mark Jun 19, 2018 04:05pm
Unfortunately he might be the next Pak PM. Duplicitous in speech and conduct.
Amin Ansari Jun 19, 2018 05:46pm
He made the best cancer hospital in this region for a woman (his mother). He treats all women in his life with utmost respect and dignity. Cant say the same about one of his ex-wife. Do these not say a lot about how IK views the role of a woman in the society?
Sheeraz Jun 19, 2018 08:21pm
I'm new to all this feminism thing, so offcourse right now I'm trying to get as much educated as I can on the topic. Can somebody explain, like an acceptable/agreed upon sort of way, what really feminism is. I mean, I must be able to compare notes. Shouldn't we all, before we reach a conclusion on somebody's feminism or lack of it. Thankful in advance.
SQ Jun 19, 2018 09:31pm
This is superb. Feminism has helped turn motherhood into a natural part of women's life, for which they should not be marginalized. How can a movement which fights to elevate the status of mothers and women be degrading to motherhood?
Mahnoor Jun 19, 2018 09:44pm
I don't like him as a leader but i agree him at this point
CommonMan Jun 19, 2018 09:56pm
@zeeshan very good idea
sumaira samad Jun 20, 2018 12:48am
Excellent article! Thanks
Theaamirofsandeigo Jun 20, 2018 01:55am
Sad to see that any leader have such an archaic point of view. I guess neither Cricket or Oxford taught him any better..
SA Jun 20, 2018 06:44am
Thank you for writing this article. If leaders keep on playing to the tune of the voters thought-process in the urge to win elections, then how will they ever change that thought-process!
JA-Australia Jun 20, 2018 09:04am
Both Imran Khan and this article are right. Of course feminism has done a lot of good for women, but the fact remains that militant feminism equates motherhood with servitude, and feels that even women who CHOSE motherhood over a professional career have made a mistake, or been forced into it. Denying reality may make for a nice sanctimonious article, but knowledgeable readers will see past the selective bias and discount the article's journalistic value.
Mana Jun 20, 2018 02:32pm
Much needed reading for the whole country!
SyedChaudhryGangaDinKhan Jun 20, 2018 05:48pm
Imran Khan knows nothing about anything.
Sabah Jun 21, 2018 10:28am
Very well-written article. Good arguments presented convincingly. Women are regularly boxed into limited roles and then belittled for it. Children are blessed to come into this world with parents, who both have a responsibility and role to play. Our religion describes very well the responsibilities in marriage and in parenthood. Neither of these are compulsory as thinking intelligent human beings should only take on roles once they are capable of fulfilling those responsibilities. This is common sense instead of the oft-blamed 'western influence" or "feminism".