The Status Of Women In Pakistan

Modified: 11th May 2017
Wordcount: 5408 words

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1.1 Demographic Transition and Status of Women in Pakistan

Women’s empowerment has more than one component: their right to make a decision; their access to opportunities and resources; authority to be in charge of their own lives, both inside and outside the home. Female empowerment has many dimensions. It includes access to knowledge, possession of social and economic resources and more autonomy in political and economic decision-making processes. All these components and dimensions of female empowerment are interrelated and an alteration in one component will not bring a huge transformation unless all change.

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If females have access to the productivity of men, then both genders can work simultaneously towards the betterment of the country, and this will lead to a sustainable way out of poverty. Therefore, women should get equal work opportunities. But women have greater challenges, as they do not get the same economic opportunities as men do. They do not get access to the decent working condition and lag behind men in decision making.

In Pakistan, women do not has proper identities, as she is owned by her male peers. Their integrity and health are often beyond their own control. They are taken as invisible, underserved and undernourished. The culture of Pakistan is greatly patriarchal, there are many old and conservative traditions of women having a subservient and subordinate role. Decisions for female individuals are made by men in her family, especially in under-developed and distant regions. In Pakistan, specific religious beliefs are deeply rooted in citizen’s beliefs, on which many traditions and social perspective surfaces.

Gender empowerment means that females ought to gain equality under the law and it must be implemented and enforced. Women’s empowerment essentially contains legal fairness, equal access to education and practical exercise, females’ management at the national level, positive action for jobs with one and the same pay, and a gender-sensitive justice system.

1.2 Factors Effecting Women Empowerment In Pakistan

Women consist of more than 50 percent of population in Pakistan and to deprive this half population of empowerment is to deprive our economy of growth. Women empowerment will not only result in the empowerment of women but also the economic well-being of the country. The development of the country also should result in equitable distribution of development benefits especially to the women sector. Economically empower women have more autonomy and resultantly this can transform their children and family lives. As she is a pivot about which entire family unit revolve, therefore an economically enriched woman has a constructive impact on the future generation.

Countries who don’t take benefit of its full population and ignores half of it, it is actually misallocating its resources, which will only lead to the reducing their development potential. All countries should focus on its weakness and learn from more successful countries. It should also set up such policies which take advantage of the whole population, as in both female and male. As successful countries are the one who recognize the potential in the women force as well for development.

Throughout the world, there is not a single country which can boast of gender equality and full women empowerment. Women still out there face discrimination and are lagging behind in one way or the other. Gender equality in two critical sections is very important like economic and political empowerment of women. There is improvement in health and education with the advent of technology and as globally economies are developing but yet there is a long way to go as women are still very behind men especially in decision making and income earning. With the past trend it is quiet visible women are actively participating in to take charge of their own lives and this is in fact effecting the communities and society as a whole. But there is a big problem as women are not consistent class, they vary by race culture, society, brought up and opportunity, thus these factors also plays an important part in the disparity of women as these factors affect the behavior of society members.

The objective of this research is to find out what political and economic determinants effect the women empowerment especially in Pakistan. The main goal is to find out what past variables have been selected and to learn from them and find new determinants.

1.3 Incidence and The Extent Women Empowerment In Pakistan

As Pakistan is a growing and developing country and for the past few years its condition is not much improving, this in act is further affecting the condition of women. As more and more people are effected and thus poverty is increasing. Thus women have to strive hard to contribute to the family income, so that their family is at least above poverty line

In Pakistan, apparently through the perspective of Islam this country says it gives equal right to both men and women but there is another side to the picture. Women constitute a small portion in decision making and they contribute very less o the development of the country as there labor force participation with respect to men is very less. The status of women in this country represents the traditions and the social customs, which led women to this condition.

Women are always underprivileged then man in Pakistan, they get less education, food, decision making and health. As it is consider men are the lords of women, and women are deprived from their basic rights. Women destiny is controlled by men. This is not the case in Pakistan only but also in many countries men are considered superior than women. To achieve development, we have to convert our weakness to strengths.

It is also known that increase women participation in the labor force will benefit the growth and resources can be distributed more easily to disadvantaged people. Thus women should get decent work, social protection and voice at work. As most of the time women are subjugated to lower wages than men and their wages have barely increased over time and they are offered low skilled, low paid atypical jobs, mainly performed from home. One of the greatest achievements in Pakistan, during the last decade has been the increasing proportion of women in the labor force, enabling women all over the country to use their potential in the labor market and to achieve economic independence. But yet we still have a long way to go.

From Global perspective higher percentage of female are working in the developed countries than ever before, yet at the identical time these women continuing raise children to bear new burdens. But these women face tradeoffs as it will be difficult to find good demanding jobs with children to look after too as well. That is why there is not equal opportunity for men and women. Not only the family but also the society, government and the whole nation will benefit from the empowerment of women.

Versatile aspects contribute to the passive functions played by women in the Pakistan Society. Great emphasis has been laid on removing gender inequality and improving women empowerment as Millennium Developmental Goal, resultantly many efforts have been initiated by the Government and NGOs in Pakistan on this issue

According to (Pakistan employment trends for women) , international Labor Organization (ILO), has the objective of the promotion of opportunities for women and men to obtain productive employment is also the overall objective of the four fundamental ILO Conventions stressing gender equality cover: (1) equal remuneration (2) non-discrimination in employment and occupation, (3) workers with family responsibilities and (4) maternity protection.

The Millennium Development Goals that emerged from the UN Millennium Declaration of September 2000 are specific measurable targets, including the one for reducing the extreme poverty that still grips more than 1 billion of the world’s people by 2015. Essential to this promise are the MDGs interrelated to educational results: (1) Guarantee that all youngsters complete primary education by 2015. (2) Remove gender inequalities in primary and secondary education. By 2006, most countries have already fallen well behind the necessary targets to meet these goals (Millennium Development Goal, 2006).

As stated in millennium development goal 3 the promotion of gender equality and empowerment is fundamental to achieving the remaining MDGs .Likewise, there is evidence that addressing gender issues benefits individuals and families, workers and employers, society and national economies. Improving women’s wages and earnings has been identified as a key element in tackling poverty and achieving the MDGs.

Yet there are Country specific activities to promote gender equality and decent work as in Pakistan’s constitution ensures all fundamental human rights and guarantees equal employment opportunities for men and women. Existing labor legislations do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of sex, but women are not allowed to work in a few areas for health and safety reasons, but the society as a whole plays a big part. the traditions of Pakistan forces women to sit at home and look after the children only , whether there husband give them money or not ,. Society or community does not approve females going out and raising voices for their rights. They also disapprove females working outside their homes. It is consider the work of women juts to look after their families. So to change this whole perceptive media is playing a big part but the government also needs to be active.

As recently the Government initiated a number of activities to promote gender equality at the heart of decent work and to achieve MDG target calling for “full and productive employment and decent work for all including women and young people.” Those activities range from gender

Sensitive revisions of constitutional and legal provisions to the establishment of new policy frameworks that help to accomplish the target. Therefore, the elevation of privileges of women and men in the domain of work and to achieve gender equality are reflected in a number of national development frameworks and policy documents including the Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) for 2005-10, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and documents exclusively relating to labor markets such as the 2002 Labor Policy and the 2006 Labor Protection Policy. Pakistan’s Decent Work Country Program (DWCP) spells out the main strategy and plan of action to promote the creation of decent work with gender equality as a cross cutting theme. Overview of existing national policies and development frameworks that stress gender equality and decent work in the country. (Haq)

1.4 Managerial and Academic concerns

My research will highlight the key determinants of women empowerment in Pakistan. As this issue is not only prevalent in Pakistan but is a global issue. as It is very important to conduct a research on determinants of women empowerment because it will stress on women troubles and bring them in to attention and it can facilitates and direct the policy makers to make such an intervention in their area, that could enrich these females not only economically but also politically and financially so that they can make a difference in their children lives and their individual living environment .Consequently providing her the individual safety and self-respect that is her essential right. this research is will also help independent institutions like NGO’s to reach out to economically and politically deprived women as The negligence of women in development process will be big loss for Pakistan as it will result in loss in human potential and ultimately effect national development.

Academically, this research is very significant for the undergraduates as it will help them pinpoint the economic and political determinants which effect the women empowerment in Pakistan. Student will find this research more realistic and precise. As now more individuals are getting conscious of this issue, so more instructors and undergraduates are doing research on women empowerment. They will find this investigation more helpful.

1.6 Keywords and Definitions


Refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities


Women’s empowerment

refers to the ability of women to transform economic and social development when empowered to fully participate in the decisions that affect their lives through leadership training, coaching, consulting, and the provision of enabling tools for women to lead within their communities, regions, and countries

(Wise earth)

Economic and political Determinants

An identifiable element in economic and political that affects that limits or defines a decision or condition.

1.7 Study Objectives

This study is an attempt to find the determinants of women empowerment in Pakistan as women being the core element of development and in Pakistan it consists of more than half of the population.

  • To study the impact of the Economic participation on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the health on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the Power over economic resources on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the Microfinance on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the Political empowerment on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the Education attainment on women empowerment.
  • To study the impact of the traditions on women empowerment.

End notes

With the advent of technology and progress in development, yet in this era women still lack behind men in power because even though a lot has been done for the empowerment of women but there is still a long way to go. Especially in Pakistan, the norms and tradition practiced are such that which suppresses the rights of female. Since independences of Pakistan, women have not gained freedom from these discriminating norms. Even though there has been a progress but this progress is very slow but to empower women not only our government but also society as a whole has to work very hard.


Measuring women empowerment

Empowerment is a multi-dimensional procedure that aids women to achieve power and control over their individual lives. Empowerment gives due right to women.

Yet measurement of women empowerment is difficult and it is challenging to judge country level performance as there is difficulty in gathering diverse data. Based on the findings of, Women’s Empowerment: Measuring Gender Gap, five important dimensions have been selected for the examination of women empowerment. Economic participation refers to contribution of females to workforce in quantitative terms. Economic opportunity is related to how much women are involved in the economy, beyond their mere presence as workers. This problem is concentrated in developed countries where women gain access to employment easily but they have little chances of upward mobility. Political empowerment means women have contribution in the decision making and can influence policy making. Educational attainment is very important as women can get the same opportunities as men do and it can be a big step for development purpose. Health and well-being is associated with how much females have access to sufficient nutrition, healthcare and reproductive facilities. It is very difficult to measure each dimension in each country and to implement policy as each country has many other factors effecting its women empowerment.

The GEM quantitatively measures the liberation of women on a country level. This indicator comprises of the share of inequality in control over earned economic resources, involvement in governmental decision-making and economic decision-making. This variable measure how much a power woman holds.

Drawing upon Women’s Empowerment: Measuring Gender Gap, a report on Taking action: achieving gender equality and empowering women, takes a step forward and elaborates further more on that there are three main domains. These three domains are interconnected, and alteration in every one of three is significant in accomplishing Goal 3.

Women: Current Reality

In a report by Augusto Lopez-Claros, it is mentioned that the past three decades have witnessed a progressively aggregate awareness of the necessity to invest in women through measures to increase political justice, social, financial and wider access to important social rights but it is argued that changes in women state is a very slow process, up till now a lot of work has been done but yet still the picture is depressing. It is not only the issue in male dominated society but also in developed country as well.

A spotlight on deprived female is acceptable for numerous causes. Unfortunate female have the furthermost requirements. It is regularly stated that female outnumber male among the underprivileged.

One more important report, Taking action: achieving gender equality and empowering women, further elaborated that poor women have greatest need; investment in them will produce greatest benefit. Further, investment in the adolescent girls is very crucial as they experience more disadvantage than boys.

Plus with progress in education and health, yet poverty among women has increased even in the richest countries where women’s labor force participation has grown, but the terms and conditions of their employment have not improved.

According to Linda Mayoux, Women also help in poverty reduction, if they are given liberty to save with no interference and or they are offered with loan, these women can cater to the need of their house hold eventually reducing poverty.

Microfinance has been fruitful in reaching poor women through inventive methods to address gender-specific restraints. According to a report Women’s Control over Economic resources and access to financial Resources, including microfinance, 2009, it is obvious that microfinance has a constructive effect on income, but this income expansion has definite limits. As females are subjugated to unfair customs and practices which limits their activities. Females face constraints in gain access to financial services.

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From all these studies it can be assumed that in spite of numerous accomplishments in giving power to women still women empowerment are effected by many factors .women should be given equal opportunities not only in education, health, and political, economic but also socially as well. Society as a whole should be targeted where new changes, changes in lifestyle and thinking should be accepted. To empower women in Pakistan all these determinants should be taken into consideration.

Increasing socialism, religious fundamentalism, and traditionalism are main limiting reasons for women’s safety and liberty. other than that self-regulating groups like NGOs and other self-governing research and academic organization, have been very energetic in formulating policy documents, raising public responsiveness and encouraging for gender-sensitive strategies and activities at all stages in order to progress women’s empowerment in Pakistan.

Women’s Economic Activity

Economic participation refers to contribution of females to workforce in quantitative terms. Economic opportunity is related to how much women are involved in the economy, beyond their mere presence as workers. This problem is concentrated in developed countries where women gain access to employment easily but they have little chances of upward mobility.

With the passage of time and despite considerable work done on women economic enrichment yet this is still time-consuming as due to many norms and practices women continue to be missing from many important decision-making opportunities which result in the determining the distribution of economic and financial resources and opportunity, that makes women more underprovided.

Depriving women from economic resources makes a nation less productive resulting in negative economic consequences. Several social practices seem as ordinary from culture and religious perspective move women out of the main stream.

Paid employment for women continues to expand slowly and remains meager in many countries including Pakistan. As the global financial crisis does not create problems for men but also for women. With men finding difficulty in recruitment as fewer jobs available due to recession thus, less jobs available for females as well. As females previously were offered less employment the men now with recent event they are less proffered and they are at huge disadvantage then men. They are getting more menial jobs and are given less wage jobs. To a great extent of work of females remains imperceptible, as most of the work done by them goes unaccounted and invisible The segment of women in salaried employment separate to the agricultural segment has amplified only slightly over the years, this shows that women are not getting work in productive jobs which can lead to development.

According to (Oxaal, 1997) , with the shortage of jobs, a woman does not have any opportunity except for to accept these kinds of job. With that those women who are not allowed to leave their house for income are also at disadvantage , as their men after recession are losing jobs , even than they are not allowed by their females to also take the burden of earning income thus , females due to poverty get undernourished and malnutrition makes them unhealthy , which resultantly effect their families. Poverty, unemployment and lack of economic prosperity further strengthen this aggressiveness in rural areas the large amount of time women spend on housework and caring for family members means that they had little time to spend on employment and personal care.

Since beginning women face a lot of constraint and these restraints replicate women’s difficulty in education; lack of power and confidence and negotiating authority; as from their household they are misjudge which effects in low self-respect plus with comparatively high participation in part-time or transitory professions; leads to less employment for women and discrimination against them. Despite women’s increased participation in the labor market, there has been no significant increase in the sharing of unpaid work, which affects women’s employment choices.

Access to Education

The living conditions of women, their poverty and huge family household prevent them from gaining education. Since the beginning girls are required to work with their mothers to look after the whole family and do household chores this, therefore limits their time and energy to get involved in education. Issue of illiteracy is the main priority for women. As only educated women can access to economic and political sphere.

According to (Medel-Anonuevo, 1993) , providing education to women will develop self-esteem and self-confidence; they will have knowledge of their health and well-being plus they will have the aptitude to make their own choices and negotiate; further this will increase the ladies’ attentiveness towards their civil rights. In addition will be able to provide skills for income generation and will participate in community/society more effectively and this will prepare them to be good women leaders.

As according to the report Taking actions, educated females are more operative at refining their own well-being and family. They are better prepared to get the most advantage from prevailing facilities and chances and to generate alternative chances.

In underprivileged countries, girls from their childhood are given domestic work; this handicaps them in terms of education. Gender inequality in rural location is even more noticeable at the phase of tertiary education. Girls from poor and rural Families face higher obstructions to education.

Boys are always preferred over girls in education in each level from primary to tertiary. But directed public policy and governance actions can help overcome gender disparities. According to The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2009 policies like removing school fees and providing incentives for girls to attend school can alleviate financial pressures on households. Building schools close to distant communities and recruiting local female teachers can also constricted the gender gap in rural areas.

A lot of work must be done to finish inequality and discrimination based on gender especially in schools .hard work must be done to enroll all children in to school, especially girls. And to make sure that they complete their studies up till tertiary level as this can lead to good productive jobs and high economic growth for the whole country.

Barriers in the Political Domain


Since the independence of Pakistan, Pakistani governments has passed many laws for the rights of women but the change in women condition is still very slow with the passage of time. There is a huge gap between the policy making and practical work. An analysis by (JAHAN, 1996) stated that after freedom, leading Muslim women in Pakistan continued to support women’s political liberation through lawful reforms.

According to (Haq, Khadija Haq on Women’s Political and Economic Empowerment in South Asia), government is starting to take steps to surge women’s political contribution through the founding of quota systems at countrywide and local levels. Introducing quota systems is nonetheless only single step on the road to female political empowerment. We are still facing inherent male-controlled traditions and approaches that limit chances for women’s participation in public life.

Environment for women’s political empowerment

Less number of women, who attain decision-making places in a political sector dominated by men, will be unproductive in manipulating decisions as large majority is needed. Women are less represented in civil service, government and other public establishments and still massive gaps continue in education and job opportunities. At the identical period, women face legal restrictions that halt them from gaining equal access to property and inheritance. We can achieve gender equality by promoting women in politics.

According to (Moser, 2007), throughout the world women are still disproportionately represented .They remain a very small minority at the center of political power. One significant approach to assisting women’s empowerment is the elevation of the participation of females in politics it comprises of encouraging women in administration and national as well as supporting women’s involvement in NGOs and women’s movements. In government, women concentration in decision-making positions should be in social, law and justice ministries

Women in Pakistan face a lot of stereotypes like women are considered as unsuitable for leadership positions; and all men contemplate that if women have political influence she must be all knowing. Ever since beginning women are disqualified from leadership roles, they are deprived of chances for leadership skills preparation. Domestic errands make it difficult for females to go for training or further studies as they solely do not have the essential hours for study. Thus they lack the talent and ability of political contribution. Most women are linked to a male political leader: as wife of an assassinated leader or daughter of an older, if not late, politician. While most women ultimately emanate into their own as leaders, it does not alter the fact that women, compared with men, have partial access to the support of political parties and males.

People have different expectations of male and female leaders. As females are responsible for their family needs with their political career simultaneously. But men have only their careers to concentrate on. When women are elected, they are expected to be all-rounder and all-knowing and in their initial stage of political career, they are expected to make a strong constructive influence in altering the situation of women or talking critical issues such as poverty, health care and education within a small time from their election. According to report ISSUES IN WOMEN’S POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION,Unjustified and inequitable beliefs results in insufficiency of females to consider entering into politics. This diminishes the group of prospect women leaders who can be confronted, motivated, prepared, and developed for politics. Women’s plea for representation is not to substitute men’s power but to create places for both women and men to grow their potentials and foster a collaboration that can take on the tasks of the new millennium.

Culture barriers

Taking the argument in a new direction by a report on Guidelines on Women’s Empowerment, states that social issue also plays major role in empowerment.

In Pakistan, the girl is still differentiated from the boys from the birth, through her childhood, and into her womanhood. In the tribal fragments of Pakistan, native men are grasping more power through religion and tradition. Girls are considered socially weaker in a Pakistani culture that discriminates against them. In rural areas they observes violence, male violence against their mothers and against them thus from start this becomes a part of their life. Brothers also then participate in this violence against the girls in the family to show their manhood to peers and family male members. Male children become more violent when they grow up. Extreme poverty is a major factor that will impede the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child .The state of extreme poverty is so severe that it leaves its victims inert to awareness, legal punishment or even religious obligations. The economic empowerment of girls and mothers is critical to the achievement of equality.

Females in Pakistan live in a domain, which is controlled by severe religious, family and tribal traditions. According to Zaheer Udin Babur, Pakistan, They are exposed to discrimination and viciousness on a daily basis .Islamic views are not properly interpreted , they are molded according to the views of men as Islamic views wrong interpretation results in females oppression physically, mentally and emotionally. Females in Pakistan are facing numerous methods of violence, discrimination and difference in nearly every part of life. Viciousness against womenfolk in many grounds is often not considered as a violation of civil rights but rather as a standard feature of lives of Pakistani people. They live in an atmosphere of fear, and their lives are guaranteed in exchange for obedience to social norms and traditions. Because of this fear and sense of being inferior, imposed by the traditional thoughts of a male dominated society, women are suffering immensely especially in their homes. The most abusive forms of violence being faced by women take place in their homes.

A thesis by (Faridi, 2009) states that women are under the control of men as the decision about education, health, occupation, marriage and physical mobility are all made by her men folk from the selection of their dress to the selection of life partner is made by either her father or brother. Women especially in Pakistan are the property of their males and to give them empowerment they should be given their due right. Moreover, Segregation and veil as perceived by men folk ma


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