Kanwal Ahmed shared on Twitter how women are kept from visiting their parents after marriage, and users revealed some heartbreaking stories

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal


We belong in a deeply patriarchal society where women aren’t picked for marriages in terms of how good of a companion they can be to a man, but how they can offer unpaid labor for the entire family. Within the media, there are more stories plagued with toxic tropes like the scheming, manipulative bahu, one that marries for money and plots to remove the mother and sister’s presence once she marries the man. Or the wife who begins an affair with another man behind her husband’s man, which hardly represents the reality about how toxic marriage households have become for Pakistani women Even the more progressive dramas aren’t devoid of such plotlines, like in ‘Dobaara’, where the scheming new wife and her mother plot together to turn her husband against his mother simply for wearing jeans around the house.

Such woman-hating content that seeks to further push the misogynist notion that ‘aurat hi aurat ki sab say bari dushman hoti hai’ fails to give a chance for women to reveal the truth about how in reality, more marriages in Pakistan demand women to give up their independence and freedom. It was the Soul Sisters Founder, Kanwal Ahmed, who debunked this stereotype on Twitter, by pointing out that in reality more women in Pakistani marriages are treated as bonded slaves, unable to visit their homes after their marriage and even to the extent of being called “un-grateful” or “lazy” for neglecting their duties to their homes.

In a Twitter thread, Kanwal revealed the multiple techniques employed by the husband and his family members to keep the wife from seeing her family:

‘Men & in-laws not letting their wives see their parents is not a myth. It’s a REAL problem. Multiple techniques are used:

1. Forcefully – “learn to live in susral. This is your home now.”

2. Emotional blackmail – “na jao. I can’t live without you, even for one night.”

3. Loading them with so much work they’re unable to take out time to see their parents – “aray bhai tum chali jao gi toh kaam kaisay hon ge?”

Society continues to shut their eyes to this heartbreaking problem many women face. After all women are just seen as a complainers.’

In the comment section women shared heartbreaking stories about themselves, or other women they know and how after marriage, they have had to face the sexist belief that “after marriage a woman’s new home is where her husband is now”, and are no longer given permission to visit their parents.

This user shared how a woman she knew was restricted by her in-laws to not spend longer than a night at her parent’s home

The other heartbreaking stories that began pouring out in this thread have proven that there is a recurring pattern in the way marriages function in Pakistan: women are considered as the property of their new families after their marriage. We keep encouraging women to look for husbands as after their marriage, they will be free to spend as much money and go where ever they wish to go. But in reality, marriage is just a woman being transferred from one patriarch to another.