Srinagar- At a time when the number of working women in Kashmir is more than ever before, many women are finding it difficult to practice their faith while in their line of duty.
Working women say they find it hard to offer (Namaz) prayers at workplaces as offices lack prayer halls for women which makes it impossible for women to pray.
City women working in both private and public sectors say most workplaces lack washrooms designed for women which would allow women to make ablution, a necessary wash before prayers.
Saima Shafi aka Kralkoor, a popular female face from Kashmir, who works as a Civil Engineer working in the Public Works Department (PWD) took to Facebook to voice her disappointment over the lack of prayer halls at many workplaces dominated by their male counterparts.
“A Muslim regardless of his or her gender is entitled to pray namaz five times a day but lack of prayer halls at workplaces makes it impossible to pray” Saima said.
She said working women find it difficult to use random washrooms at a public place because of security issues so it is the responsibility of employers to have these facilities at their workplaces.
In Srinagar city, while there is no dearth of mosques in the city, most mosques do not allow the entry of women.
“Providing working women with prayer halls and ablution rooms is more of a social and religious responsibility, I think women should be allowed to pray in mosques if it is in line with Islamic laws” Saima said.
“If a mosque allows entry of women, they can put up a small board so that women come to know about it” she added.
Juveria Javaid, a student pursuing her graduation at Women’s college voiced similar views saying in most male dominated professions females find it hard to pray in their offices.
“Prayer halls specifically designated for women will provide a safe environment for females to pray, it will also allow them to share their ideas on social and religious issues”
“It will allow women to be more active in societal activities” she added.
Faakirah, a practicing lawyer, said it is a legal requirement for an employer to provide a separate washroom facility for females at the workplace.
“However, providing a prayer hall is not the mandate of the employer” she added.
As the number of working women in Kashmir increases by the day and some of them defiant to enter mosques for prayers, the response it evokes from Kashmir’s civil society remains to be seen.
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