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Title: Women in Pakistan
Authors: Tabassum, Dr. Naima
Keywords: Gender Studies
Socio-Cultural Studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Higher Education Commission Pakistan
Abstract: The culture, violence, politics and law are interlinked and mutually conditioning domains of a society. The four aspects play an important role in determining the respective status of different groups in a particular society. Men and women are two important groups universally inhabiting all the societies. The cultural, social, political and legal aspects of society differentially affect the status of men and women in it. Pakistani society is not an exception to this universal fact. Pakistani culture is combination of various ethnic, religious and sectarian sub-cultures where women’s place and status is very rigidly limited. Pakistan is a patriarchal society where men dominate women in all aspects of social life. The social, political, economic and religious structures and processes serve as the main sources to strengthen and consolidate the authority of Pakistani men in larger part of the society. The same social structures and processes, as dominated by men, do not equally provide for Pakistani women’s personal and social development and legal protections. Pakistani women lag behind men in their educational, health, economic and political status. The lower level of personal and social development makes them more vulnerable to different forms of violence and crime as compared to men. The prevailing and overarching patriarchal culture through socialization and strict control reduced any chance of raising voice for protest and retaliation by women to almost none. Rather, the socialization received throughout life makes women internalized the submissiveness and obedience as patriarchal bargaining strategies to maximize their interests within the existing social structures. The power dynamics show the differential social and cultural upbringing and status of individuals and groups in a society. Pakistani culture through its manifestations in the form of social institutions is responsible for prevailing gender inequalities in the country. Women have to face socio-cultural constraints and they are culturally pushed to stay in home remain mostly busy doing unpaid domestic chores. This way of social organization curtails their chances to enter the public, economic and political spheres of the society. Although, the discriminating social and cultural framework can possibly be altered through focused legal reforms but the law serves the interest of the groups who dominate the law making institutions. As a consequence of their low level of participation in public and political life, Pakistani women are marginally represented in law making institutions. Therefore, the laws formulated in the men dominated institutions are not sufficient to launch the reforms needed for altering the harmful aspects of culture conditioning of differential status of men and women, making the later more vulnerable to violence and crime. The vicious cycle starts with cultural conditioning of social institutions, assigning differential status to men and women in them, leading to unequal distribution of political power, resulting in formulation of discriminatory laws which again end up in preserving and fostering a culture that differently conditions the status of men and women in society. Therefore, there is a dire need to study, explore and alter the four aspects of culture (in it manifestations in social institutions), violence, politics and law to improve the status of women by curbing the prevailing discrimination and violence against women in society. Pakistani women’s poor education, health and workforce participation leads to their subordinate status making them vulnerable to violence and crime. It further reduces women’s chances to reach the decision making and authority positions in society. Thus, women are marginally represented in political and legislative forums. The laws and policies formulated in these political institutions are not sufficiently serving women’s interest to improve their educational, social and economic status in society. Therefore, the need is to break this vicious cycle by deliberately giving an equal participation to Pakistani women in political and legislative institutions for formulation of gender sensitive policies and laws that may ensure women’s improved participation in social institutions by legally curbing discriminatory social practices and violence against women in broader society. This book is written as an effort to explore and analyse these interlinked aspect of Pakistani society for better understanding of students and scholars. The book focuses on the impact of culture, social institutions, violence, politics and laws on women in the context of Pakistani society. It provides detailed description of structures and processes with the help of statistics, suitable case studies, and other texts to portray overall status and role of women in social, cultural, political and legal domains of Pakistani society.
Description: Textbook
ISBN: 978-969-417-186-9
Appears in Collections:Textbooks.

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