by Emily Kaplan, Mina’s List Communications Intern
Last night, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar for her documentary “A Girl in the River.” The documentary examines the life of a young Pakistani woman who survived an ‘honor killing’ by her father and uncle, an attempted murder for bringing shame to her family by eloping.
Obaid-Chinoy used the documentary to advocate for an elimination of honor killings in Pakistan. At least 5,000 honor killings take place across the world every year in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Turkey and the United States, according to the Honor Based Violence Awareness Network. In Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 women are killed every year for bringing shame to their families and communities. Obaid-Chinoy urged the passing of the Anti-Honor Killing Bill, legislation that will close loopholes in laws that prevent the prosecution of honor killings.
That legislation was piloted by a woman Minister of Parliament, Syeda Sughra Imam, and though it passed the Senate in 2015, it has yet to be enacted into law.
During her acceptance speech, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy revealed that after watching “A Girl in the River,” the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif vowed to take legislative action to eliminate honor killings.
Obaid-Chinoy exuberantly exclaimed, “This is what happens when determined women get together!” Because of the ground work of women in politics in Pakistan over years and years, because of “A Girl in the River,” because of the power of women leaders in all arenas of life, meaningful change is made possible indeed.