Background, Assessment and Analysis of the Gender Issues in Pakistan
Gender issues in Pakistan with respect to socio economic, political and cultural background of Pakistan
Scientific Essay 2005 24 Pages
This paper describes the assessment of the gender issue in Pakistan, review and analysis of the major sector depicting gender inequalities. Before continuing to the detailed analysis of the gender issues in Pakistan, it gives a bird ’ s eye-view of the socio-economic, political and cultural background of Pakistan. The paper explains the areas of critical gender inequalities in Pakistan and reviews the various gender indicators in Pakistan. It also discusses the current policies and the programs addressing the gender issues in Pakistan and the suggests some policy recommendations to improve the women ’ s status in Pakistan.
Pakistan and Gender Issues, Assessment of gender issues in Pakistan, Gender Indicators
I - INTRODUCTION
Differences in opportunities and access to the resources between men and women exist all over the world, but they are most common in poor developing nations. These differences develop at very early stages, for example, boys usually receive a larger share of education and health spending than girls. Girls, in many developing countries, are allowed less education by their families than boys, and this might be shown by the lower female primary school enrollment and lower literacy rates in females. Consequently, women have less employment opportunities, especially in the formal sectors. Women who do work outside the home often also bear the burden of the responsibility for household-tasks and child-nurturing. The lower spending on girls’ health results in higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy rates in girls than boys. However, the life expectancy has increased for both men and women in all regions, but female morbidity and mortality rates sometimes exceed male rates, particularly during early childhood and the reproductive years.
The causes of gender inequality, linked to the households decisions that are particularly complex. Regardless of how such decisions are made, they obviously are influenced by the traditions, customs, institutional and cultural norms (World Bank, 2002a)1. These norms and values do not capture the full benefits to society of investing in women. Limited education and training, poor health and nutrition, and denied access to resources don’t only depress the women's quality of life but alsocause to hinder the economic efficiency and growth. This is alarming because women are agents of change, shaping the welfare of future generations.
In Pakistan, as a developing nation, the situation is more or less similar as described in the earlier paragraphs of this paper. The main objectives of this paper are; the assessment of the gender issue in Pakistan, review and analysis of the major sector depicting gender inequalities. Before continuing to the detailed analysis of the gender issues in Pakistan, it will be useful (in understanding the causes of gender inequalities) to have a bird’s eye- view of the socio-economic, political and cultural background of Pakistan. So, the essay is organized as follows. In the next Section - II a brief background of Pakistan is presented. Section - III explains the areas of critical gender inequalities in Pakistan. Section - IV reviews the various gender indicators in Pakistan. Section - V discusses the current policies and the programs addressing the gender issues in Pakistan. Section - VI presents the summary of analysis and the policy recommendations to improve the women’s status in Pakistan. And the last section (VII) concludes the essay.
II - A BRIEF BACKGROUND OF PAKISTAN
Pakistan is a federation of four provinces (Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan) conjoined with the federal capital area, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Figure 1: Flag and Map of Pakistan
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: CIA (2005). World Fact Book: Pakistan2
Official name of Pakistan is ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. General Pervez Musharrf is the present Head of the state (President) and the Mr. Shuakat Aziz is the present Head of the government (Prime Minister). Islamabad is the federal capital of Pakistan. In this section, the historical, demographic & geographic and socio-economic & political background of Pakistan will be discussed. First of all, we’ll look at the brief historical background of Pakistan.
Pakistan got independence (from British rule) after the separation of British India (in 1947) into the Muslim state Pakistan (with two sections West Pakistan and the East
Essay: Final Session WBI’s E-Course: Gender, Economic Development and Poverty Reduction G. Moheyuddin Pakistan) and the large Hindu state India. During the separation of British India the issue of disputed Kashmir territory remained unresolved. This dispute over the Kashmir ’s territory resulted in many wars between Pakistan and India. Pakistan and India fought first war over Kashmir in 1948 (soon after their independence), in which Pakistan captured some part of the Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) while the large area of Kashmir is still held by India. The both countries also fought a second war in 1965. A third war between these countries was fought in 1971 (in which India got the advantage of political dispute between West Pakistan and East Pakistan) resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response of the Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan conducted its own Nuclear Tests in 1998. The Dispute over Kashmir is still going on, but the start of the discussion and other confidence building measure, in recent past and especially after the severe earthquake of October 8th 2005, is helping to reduce the tension.
Geographic and Demographic Background
Pakistan is situated in South Asia bordering Arabian Sea on South, India on East, Iran and Afghanistan on West and China on the on North. Total (land) area of Pakistan is 796,096 square KMs (Population Census Organization (PCO), 2005a)3. The Geographic Coordinates are 30 00N, 70 00E (CIA, 2005). Pakistan has largest land boundary with Afghanistan (2430 KMs), 2912 KMs Boundary with India, 909 KMs boundary with Iran and shares 523 KMs long border with China. Pakistan has a coastline of 1046 KMs long (CIA, 2005).
According to the 1998 census (carried out by Population Census Organization) the total population of Pakistan is 132,352 thousands (68874 thousands Male and 63478 thousands female) and Average annual growth rate 2.69%. But the current total population of Pakistan is 155648500 (PCO, 2005b)4. Average household size is 6.8, according to Pakistan Demographic Survey 2003 (PDS-2003)5. Crude Birth Rate is 26.5 per 1000 persons and general Fertility Rate is 114.5 per 1000 women (97.9 per 1000 in urban areas and 124.5 in rural areas). The Fertility Rtes is about 21% higher in rural areas Essay: Final Session WBI’s E-Course: Gender, Economic Development and Poverty Reduction G. Moheyuddin as compared to the urban areas (PCO, 2005c). Crude Death Rate is 7.0 per 1000 person; 7.3 for males and 6.6 for females (PCO, 2005c). Infant Mortality Rate is 76.2 per 1000 live births according to PDS-2003. Thus the Natural Growth Rate of population is calculated in PDS-2003 as 1.95 % per annum. According to the PDS-2003 the Life Expectancy at Birth is 64 years for Males and 66 Years for females. Islam is the largest religion as the 97% of population are Muslim, while Christians, Hindus and Others constitute the 3% of total population (CIA, 2005). Urdu is National language, English is used as official language in offices and ministries. Other regional languages include Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1% (CIA, 2005).
Table 1: Pakistan at Glance
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Population Census Organization (PCO, 2005a)
Socio-Economic and Political Background
Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, has suffered from decades of internal political disputes, low levels of foreign investment, and a costly, ongoing confrontation with neighboring India.But now Pakistan has raised development spending from about 2% of GDP in the 1990s to 4% in 2003, a necessary step towards reversing the broad underdevelopment of its social sector. GDP growth, spurred by double-digit gains in industrial production over the past year, has become less dependent on agriculture. Foreign exchange reserves continued to reach new levels in 2004, supported by robust export growth and steady worker remittances (CIA, 2005).
National currency of Pakistan is Rupee. Share of agriculture in GDP is 22.6%, while share of industry and Services sectors are 24.1% and 53.3% respectively (2004 est.). Total labor force is 43 million, out of which 42% employed in agriculture 38% in services and 20% in industry. And Unemployment rate is 8.3% plus substantial underemployment (2004 est.). Population below poverty line is 32% (FY 2000-01). Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 4.1%, highest 10%: 27.6% (FY 1996-97) while the Distribution of family income - Gini index is 41 (FY1998-99) [CIA, 2005].
Some important recent economic indicators of Pakistan are shown in the Table 2.
Table 2: Recent Economic Indicators of Pakistan
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Australian Department of Foreign affairs and Trade (DFAT), 2005
* Data subject to revision
** Forecasted data
Social conditions in Pakistan are poor; most of the population is deprived of better health facilities, sanitation and clean drinking water facilities. Literacy rate is 43.92%, for males 54.81% and for females 32.02% (Census 1998) i.e. the status of women’s education is lower as compared to males. The value of Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.527 and HDI rank of Pakistan (among 177 countries) is 135, while the value of Human Poverty Index (HPI-1) is 37.1% and the HPI-1 rank of Pakistan (among 103 countries) is 68 (UNDP, 2005)6.
Political system in Pakistan is bicameral Parliament (or Majlis-e-Shoora) consists of the Senate (100 seats; members indirectly elected by provincial assemblies to serve four-year terms) and the National Assembly (342 seats; 60 seats represent women; 10 seats represent minorities; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms).
1 World Bank (2002a). “Summary of Gender Profile: Technical Notes”. GenderStats: Database for Gender Statistics. The World Bank . Retrieved on 27/11/2005 from http://devdata.worldbank.org/genderstats/techCountry.htm
2 CIA (2005). “The World Fact Book - Pakistan.” Central Investigation Agency (CIA), the Government of USA. Retrieved on 27/11/2005 from http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/print/pk.html
3 PCO (2005a). “ Pakistan at Glance - Census 1998”. Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan. Retrieved on 28/11/2005 from http://statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/index.html
4 PCO (2005b). “Population Clock: Estimated Population of Pakistan” Population Census Organization, Statistics Division - Government of Pakistan. Retrieved on 28/11/2005 from http://statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/index.html
5 PCO (2005c). “Pakistan Demographic Survey 2003” Population Census Organization, Statistics Division , Government of Pakistan. Retrieved on 28/11/2005 from http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/fbs/statistics/pds2003/pdswriteup.pdf
6 UNDP (2005). “HDR 2005- Country Fact Sheet: Pakistan” United Nation Development Program (UNDP). Retrieved on 28/11/2005 from http://hdr.undp.org/statistics/data/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_PAK.html