The research paper focuses on problems and solutions experienced globally, using Pakistan as an example. Pakistan is located in South Asia and is ranked 33rd largest, occupying 881,913 square kilometers. Moreover, Pakistan is the fifth most populated country with a current population of 228.9 million, of which the majority are Muslims (Shahnawaz, 2022, April). The high population is due to a high birth rate of 27.8% and a low death rate of 6.9%. 51.5% of the country’s population are males, while 48.5% are females, with a life expectancy of 66.3 and 68.3 years, respectively.
A prime minister has headed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s government since 1947, and Shehbaz Sharif is the current prime minister. The president is the head of state with the highest authority. However, there have been several political conflicts in Pakistan as there is no prime minister who completed their term. Recently, Imran Khan, the former prime minister, lost his seat through the vote of no confidence, as he had lost the support of his coalition allies and Pakistan’s military (Wolf, 2022). Pakistan’s parliament attained democracy in 1974 and comprises the senate, national assembly, and the president as a federal legislature. Pakistan’s judiciary includes the supreme court, the High Court, and the District Court.
Northern Pakistan is occupied by the Taliban, who declared an Islamic Emirate in 1996 and imposed and brutally enforced Quran interpretation on the residents. Pakistan and India have fought four wars, including the three wars over Kashmir region in 1948, 1965, and 1971 (Iqbal and Hussain, 2018). Later in 1999, Karlil war erupted as the Pakistan military wanted to cut off the links between Ladakh and Kashmir.
There is positive progress in Pakistan’s economic growth as it recorded an increase of 3.9% in the financial year 2021, and it is expected to increase to 4.0 in the 2022 financial year. Pakistan’s GDP has reached Rs66.949 trillion at the current market prices, with a per capita increase from $1,676 to $ 1,798 in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively (Pakistan, 2022). In the 2020-2021 financial year, Pakistan’s unemployment rate was estimated at 6.3%. It was expected to fall to 4.5% by the end of 2021 and 3.8% by 2022.
Pakistan earns much of its revenue from its exports, including $2,14 billion from rice and cotton textiles such as house linens which earn it $3.61 billion, and non-kit men’s suits worth $1.8 billion, among others, yearly (Surahio et al., 2022). However, Pakistan makes major imports, such as refined petroleum worth $3.87 billion, gasoline worth $2.24 billion, and palm oil of $2.15 billion yearly.
Pakistan has recorded several inequalities, including discrimination among women, transgender persons, and religious minorities. Pakistan authorities harassed and tortured human rights activists, lawyers, and medical personalities in 2020, for protesting against the government’s unjust policies (Balcerowicz, 2022). Women and girls’ abuse remains a serious problem in Pakistan as women face domestic violence and rape cases. Between January and March 2020, a 200% increase in domestic violence was recorded with no effective judicial actions. The research paper focuses on the inequalities and injustices against women in Pakistan, measures taken by the government to solve the problem, and recommendations on how to help solve the problem.
Inequalities and Injustice against Women in Pakistan
Gender equality and justice for all is the main key to a country’s development. However, women in Pakistan face major problems and trials today, including gender discrimination, education deprivation, domestic violence, honor killings, forced marriages, and rape. Pakistan’s patriarchal and cultural beliefs, like that women should remain to attend family chores as men dominate outside to provide for the family, have contributed significantly to the increasing cases of problems women face. There are no significant improvements on the matter. Instead of the Pakistan government fighting to end the problem, it leads the exploitation by torturing and harassing activists who try to fight for women’s equality and justice.
These problems have affected Pakistan’s economy and development as most strong and intelligent women are denied the right to access education, politics, and labor markets, favoring weak men. These issues affect the country’s productivity, technological advancement, and capital accumulation, dragging the economy down. Gender inequality and injustice significantly affect minorities and marginalized people as they lead to an increase in anti-social behaviors, forced marriages, forced labor, and crimes. Children are the most affected as they face various challenges, such as lack of education, starvation, and health issues due to separation of the parents or death of their mothers due to domestic violence. According to UNEP’s Global Gender and Environment Outlook (GGEC) 2016 report, gender inequality is one of the major environmental challenges (Petrie, 2021). Their research discovered that women are denied access to use and manage natural resources and the right to a conducive, safe and healthy environment.
Solutions and Recommendations
In 2020, Pakistan established a new anti-rape law to ensure that rape cases are spent and criminals are convicted with tough sentences. An estimate of 4,734 cases of sexual violence, more than 15,000 registered honor criminal cases, and over 1,800 domestic violence cases were recorded between 2004 and 2016, in which conviction rate remained low (Ali and Khalid, 2021). In 2020, Mike Pompeo, US State Secretary, acknowledged Pakistan’s advancement in protecting human rights and promised support by strengthening the US-Pakistan bond. Moreover, women and human rights activists have been protesting on International Women’s Day since 2018, demanding justice, access to public places, and reproductive rights (Alam, 2021). However, the movement faced much criticism from the conservative groups claiming that it was a promiscuous demand. Fortunately, UNFPA is working with the protesting women to help improve the issue by giving support and strength to ensure their voices are heard.
I recommend initiating awareness programs on gender violence, the importance of equal access to education, and additional women economic empowerment programs. I can achieve my plan by forming an organization that would discuss the application methods to ensure every part of the country is engaged in the program. The program could be more effective by including the support from international organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for both muscle and monetary support. The government also would be of great help both financially and in implementing laws that regulate gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence against women. Community members would contribute by encouraging others on the importance of attending the programs and the spread of the message. While developing the program plan, there must be a consideration of the patriarchal norm that women should remain at home while men work to sustain the family. We would ensure regular meetings for updates, seek adequate financial support, and ensure strong leadership to sustain the project.
Inequalities and injustice against women in Pakistan are major economic and security challenges, and the government should take serious measures to handle the issue. Although the Pakistan government has responded to the issue by establishing anti-rape law and seeking international support, they should ensure the law is fully enforced without bias. This topic is very important as it has highlighted problems faced by women and has as well recommended various ways that we can do to help curb the problem. Finally, my next study will be on the effects of gender discrimination on the economy of Pakistan.
Alam, Z. (2021). Violence against women in politics: The case of Pakistani women’s activism. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 9(1), 21-46.
Ali, R., & Khalid, A. (2021). COVID-19 and Domestic Violence in Pakistan: An Analysis of the Media Perspective. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 22(12), 98-114.
Balcerowicz, P. (2022). The structure of abuse. In Human Rights Violations in Kashmir (pp. 135-185). Routledge.
Iqbal, M. Z., & Hussain, S. (2018). Indo-Pak wars (1948, 1965, 1971, 1999): Projecting the nationalistic narrative. Journal of Political Studies, 25(1), 139-156.
Pakistan, C. A. D. T. M. (2022). Submission to the Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights–CADTM.
Petrie, M. (2021). Reporting on the State of the Environment. In Environmental Governance and Greening Fiscal Policy (pp. 21-42). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Shahnawaz, S. (2022, April). State of Human Security in Security State: A Case Study of Pakistan. In GMPI Conference Series (Vol. 1, pp. 54-62).
Surahio, M. K., Gu, S., Mahesar, H. A., & Soomro, M. M. (2022). China–Pakistan economic corridor: macro-environmental factors and security challenges. SAGE Open, 12(1), 21582440221079821.
Wolf, S. O. (2022). The end for Khan?. Available at SSRN 4076840.