The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Women at Work

Posted on April 27, 2008
Filed Under >Nadeem Omar, History, Photo of the Day, Society, Women
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Nadeem Omar

Much like the last photograph in our series on the F.E. Chaudhry Collection, this photograph is also about women at work. But in a different way.

Women work Lahore rickshaw labor labour

This photograph, taken in Lahore probably in the 1960s, brings to light many Pakistani realities; some of which have changed, and some not.

Showing an elderly woman hauling a cycle rickshaw, boarded by a family of four, the photograph can be seen as the inhuman plight of an old women left to fend for herself. At the same time, it can speak for struggle of working women who can take to occupations generally associated with masculine strength, when the need arises, rather than being confined to domestic spaces to suffer in misery or beg on the streets.

The photograph also presents a forgotten image of Pakistani society, when it was not altogether uncommon for even working class women to ride or drive on the road. Contrary to the present, when its almost a taboo for women to ride a bicycle or motorcycle, a working class vehicle, forcing them to ride behind their men, this photograph clearly refutes the impression that our society in the past was less susceptible to gender equality. It makes one wonder how we came to lock ourselves in patriarchal prison, pushing half of our population off the public sphere.

Click here for the evolving F.E. Choudhry Gallery at ATP.


19 responses to “The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Women at Work”

  1. Ayesha says:

    What a powerful photograph this is. And how much times have changed (women). And also not changed in some respects (poverty).

  2. Ali Dada says:

    I don’t know about Nadeem sahab, but I won’t tolerate exploitation of females by putting them in hard labour.

    This is inhumane. Nothing to do with sexism or machismo as some have tried to paint it.

  3. Gill says:

    “It makes one wonder how we came to lock ourselves in patriarchal prison, pushing half of our population off the public sphere. ”

    It might have happened, possibly, when we realized embracing the Western idea of pushing our women into the public sphere brought us absolutely nothing and we were at the bottom of the world.

    And though some drama-prone people would like to still make that claim, looking at the rest of the third world, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, assures us we don’t have that excuse anymore. Having a military that’s in the top 10 in the world is at least worth that much.

  4. shakila saddique says:

    Dear Freind

    greetins you have done really a great job. a beautiful photo, in which a rikshaw driver woman is riding cycle rikshaw. i came to know about the history of Pakistan that in 1960s women were quite free than now.

    God bless you to do more great work

    best regards

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