Reducing Gender Gap in Muslim Societies: The Case of Pakistan

January 15, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Science, Health Science, Immunology
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Reducing the Gender Gap in Muslim Societies: The Case of Pakistan Ana Komnenic, Anita Tavra, Eliana Chia Dr. Muhammad Iqbal

The Maria-Helena Foundation

What is ‘equality’ ? Equal access to “opportunities that allow people to pursue a life of their own choosing and to avoid extreme deprivations in outcomes” (World Development Report, 2006)

• It measures gaps not levels

Country A) Country B)

Female 20% 40%

Male 40% 80%

Country C)



Countries A and B both have a gap of 0.5 Country C has no gap

Why reduce the Gender Gap? • • • •

It’s a basic human right Freedom from male control Better health care More participants in the economy = economic growth • Improved work/life balance for both women and men

Global Gender Gap • Report of the World Economic Forum (2010) • Based on four pillars: – Economic attainment – Political participation – Health – Education

Examples of Sub-indices Pakistan


Rankings – some comparisons COUNTRY Norway Philippines Canada The Gambia* Bangladesh* Japan Saudi Arabia* Pakistan* Yemen*

2010 RANK 2 9 20 75 82 94 129 132 134

*Muslim majority countries

Gender Gap in Muslim Societies

The Muslim world

Why is the gender gap so high?

o Culture o Religion o Structural and systemic barriers o Varying levels of socioeconomic development o Varying levels of democratization

Culture • Combination of local pre-existing, preIslamic cultures • Dictated by morals and values influenced by pre-existing practices and religion • A foundation for the way of life: social, political, economic

Religion • Interpretive nature – various manifestation of religiosity in secular and traditional states (Bosnia vs. Saudi Arabia) • Used to support discriminatory attitudes and policies • Absolutist values on social roles, sexuality, morality • In some places, immune from public scrutiny and challenge

Structural/Systemic • Traditional vs. secular governments • Various types of governance • Influence of clerics, religious/moral police • Culture and religion serve as foundations upon which systemic structures are formed and upheld

Socioeconomic development • Low literacy impacts women’s access to reproductive and general health • Low literacy correlates with maternal and child health/mortality • Rural areas: problems of infrastructure • High fertility and poverty mean that families would prefer to send boys to school in many cases • Families may be forbidden to or choose not to send their daughters to school

Democratization • Laws and policies which support girls and women are not always enforced Example: Women in Saudi Arabia and Iran have high levels of literacy but very low work sector participation Example: Women in Saudi Arabia will be able to vote, but cannot drive or be alone without male supervision

What can governments do? • Invest in schools, teachers, egalitarian curriculum development, and scholarships • Expand access to public education by removing fees which many parents cannot afford • Promote equality* • Provide equal opportunities for men and women to be educated and to work together as equals to build a healthy society

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