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Women

For a woman of Hushe Valley it is a hard life, devoted primarily to raising her family and working in the fields. Most adult women only speak the Balti language and have no Urdu or English (the two official languages of Pakistan) and so cannot leave the valley or communicate with the outside world. In addition, a high percentage of these women are illiterate, further limiting their possibilities of movement and a relationship with society.

Teenage girls are married off by their families once they leave school. So begins the arduous task of being a woman and mother in Baltistan. Marriage is often between relatives.olatz

The workload borne by women begins with the care her children, a typical number is around 5, care for her husband and elderly relatives. This together with the maintenance and cleanliness of her home and working in the fields, growing the products needed for food.

As noted, women have obligations with regard to work both outdoors and indoors. They are obliged to carry out all the duties of housework, as well as planting, harvesting, collecting firewood, water and grass for the cattle for winter, taking care of the family orchard, picking the fruit, fruit processing ...

To this we must add that in the summer, the time when there is most work in the fields, many men leave to work as porters and mountain guides. All the hard work then falls on the women. And yet, even though the women are engaged in the collection and processing of food, there have no access to the markets.

The role of women in public life is limited, it is easy to observe that they cannot walk down the streets alone or participate actively in community celebrations.

The Felix Baltistan Foundation works for the empowerment of women and towards greater gender equity in the region.vocational

The first steps have led to the creation of a centre from which to promote basic skills training for professional women, advancing their progressive autonomy and empowerment to improve their quality of life and community development. The centre, called, ‘The Vocational Centre for Women’, offers year-round courses in sewing, English, making jam, etc. The centre has become the main place where women can meet, learning various techniques and work skills, organising lectures, sharing experiences, or simply finding their own space to be.