Barriers to women empowerment in Pakistan
The Phenomenon of enhancing women’s sense of self-worth by giving them the right to make their own choices and influence society in a certain way is generally known as Women empowerment.
Though it is a basic right of every human yet neglected for women in almost every part of the world. But in developing countries like Pakistan, women are more deprived in comparison. Pakistan was ranked at the second-lowest position on the gender equality index in 2017.
There are various socio-cultural barriers to women’s empowerment in Pakistan. Let’s have a brief look at them.
It is a common perception in society that women are weak and less capable both physically and mentally which is why they have to be male dependent. Even though women share more than 50% population, the male dominating society does not allow them to make their decisions freely. This male dependency also leads to domestic violence and hinders the way to escape it.
Lack of basic education
According to a UN report, 53.6% of the female population faces primary education and employment limitations in Pakistan. Due to the lack of primary education, they are not aware of their rights and have no confidence in confronting societal norms and traditions.
Stigmatized gender roles
The norms and cultural practices in Pakistan have defined specific roles for both genders where women are expected to take the responsibility for the family in terms of household chores like cleaning, cooking, etc. This specificity and hindrance from making choices otherwise lead them to depression, anxiety, and stress.
Joint and nuclear family system
The joint and nuclear family system also develops an influential and authoritarian attitude among the males as a result their behavior is harsh to the females. That is why, they have no or very less sense of support if she is doing a job.
As mentioned above, he lack of primary education among girls resulted in less or no awareness of their basic rights. These girls are more likely to get married at an early age. They have no sense of authority and consent which results in them having to face domestic violence, oppression, and poverty.
Harassment and unequal opportunities in workplaces
According to research, it is a routine matter for a woman to face harassment in the workplace in Pakistan. There are various forms of harassment like violence, mental torture, threats, and verbal abuse. Moreover, they have fewer salaries and lesser opportunities as compared to men. This affects their workability and creativity.
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Fewer career options
The patriarchal system pressurize the parents to deal with their daughters in a certain way that stops them from doing their desired jobs and participating in different activities. These taboos about females decrease their potential for economic and societal development.
Awareness and Education are two crucial factors in women’s empowerment. At the state level, such policies and laws should be introduced that address gender inequality and encourage women’s participation in all spheres of society. So that both the genders can prosper and grow equally.