Colloquium 2016

Gender in the City

Insecure Masculinities: Drugs, Religion and Violence in a Basti in Lahore

Mehlab Jameel
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Lahore has been a site of many religious and sectarian tensions over the years and the insecurity and fear among Christians of Lahore is a subject that this paper explores in detail. In deconstructing a monolithic narrative of persecution of Christians in the city, this paper explores tensions based on class, religion and varying relationship with the state by reflecting on how masculinity is constructed in relation to insecurity and fear in a Christian dominated Basti in Lahore. As most slums, the issue of drugs and violence infests the Basti under discussion, however, this paper goes in depth of how tensions around drug use and violence in the streets reflect broader structural inequalities in the society and in doing so affect the everyday experience of violence. The insights in this paper are based on fieldwork conducted among residents of a slum adjacent to Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan mostly populated by a working-class Christian population. The fieldwork is based on engagement with the community since 2014 and involved interviews with men of different ages, incomes and religious backgrounds residing in the community. In addition to participant observation in the form of casually spending time with men on street corners, food stalls, snooker clubs and hamaam, the research also employed the technique of “performative ethnography”. This paper explores street life and drug use through a gendered perspective, focusing on spatiality of drugs and violence in relation to how fear and insecurity are constructed and contested in the streets in terms of engagement with the state and notions of respectable masculinities.

The Lahore Metro Bus: Theorizing Global Cities and Locating Gender

Mariam Sheherbano Khan
Beaconhouse National University

The economic hardships faced by the Pakistani population has necessitated women to venture out for employment, increasingly large number of young girls gaining higher education facilitating a possibility of a new spatial imagination within the urban landscape. The aim of this preliminary research was to connect the power structures and political dynamics of the LMB and to document the feminine experience which can lead to an in-depth analysis of the range, variations, and quality of female agency present. While the Lahore Metro Bus functions as a symbol of patriarchal and modern power, it also possesses within it the potential to transform and create alternative social and cultural meaning attached to the inclusion of feminine forms within the public space. My research aims to locate gender on the Lahore Metro Bus (LMB), a bus rapid transit (BRT). The female narrative has been used by social scientists and anthropologists to understand the structures of everyday relations, of gender and class. This narrative provides an understanding and exploration of the idea The LMB as a public, “normalized space”, which creates a disruption in the traditional relations that take place within the private of the home and community and allows for new ways of urban citizenship and female agency to be exercised. Through an ethnographic study of the Lahore Metro Bus (LMB), I wanted to understand the female experience as commuter on the LMB and how women experience modernity and urban development.

Life Cycle Experiences of Trans-Individuals in Lahore 

Muhammad Faraz
Lahore University of Management Sciences

The paper focuses on life-cycle experiences of the trans-individuals in Lahore which includes their experiences of transition, (dis)membership, alienation, and treatment from the society and within their own semi-autonomous communities. By examining the lived experiences of the trans-individuals, this research aims to highlight their socioeconomic conditions. The research reveals their marginalized and stigmatized socioeconomic status, thus highlighting the pragmatic need of political activism for the equal rights of trans individuals. In order to do so, a detailed primary research data of 85 trans- individuals comprising of 35 significant socioeconomic variables have been analyzed using the special program for statistical analysis. The data comprises of trans-individuals who live in the red light district of Lahore. In addition to the quantitative data, this research also includes qualitative data in the form of interviews and group discussions with fifteen trans-individuals. The interviews and observations were conducted using the phenomenological research approach, concentrating on the phenomenon of ghettoization and make-shift identities. These interviews and observations are mainly an oral account of the life stories of fifteen trans individuals and focuses mainly on treatment from the police, neighbors, and family members. This qualitative data explains the underlying hermeneutics of quantitative data analysis results. This research offers a few contributions. The collection of primary sources, statistical analysis and interviews provide an “insider’s guide to the trans-life experiences” in Pakistan. Thus, it is a way to provide better services, better understanding of the trans communities living in ghettos by making it easier to map, trace and understand the situation and demographics of the trans-people in Lahore for welfare, entrepreneurial, charitable and government funded projects. Also, the data can be used for further research and citations.

Gender and Literary Representations

Being The Immigrant: The Transnational Female in South Asian

Seerat Fatima
Beaconhouse National University

This paper is an attempt to understand the fundamental conflict that a modern South Asian woman goes through: Can a South Asian female define herself through reaching some sort of middle ground between the radical approach towards feminism in the West and the Eastern values ingrained into her since birth? This paper is an in-depth analysis of Manju Kapur's novel The Immigrant. The study will be initiated though the exploration of the concept of 'Transnational' with regards to hegemonic feminist discourses. This will be followed by introducing the selected text both in the context of the concepts referred to before and keeping the idea of Nina, the protagonist’s exilic consciousness in place. Diasporic literature, in today’s world has helped the previously regarded subaltern to be heard. It has in many ways given voice to the previously subjugated masses and their experience in an ‘alien’ environment. In particular, South Asian female writers have distinguished themselves in the world of the novel due to their accounts of the experience of the diaspora and its effects upon women. In the selected text, The Immigrant by Manju Kapur, the female immigrant experience is best characterized by a state of liminality. This condition, common to all diasporic communities, is created due to the frequent oscillation between two completely different societies and cultures. As a result of existing in this ‘in between’ space, the immigrant, Nina in this case, develops a second consciousness in order to relate to her South Asian roots while at the same time adapting to her current environment. This paper takes into consideration this multiplicity of consciousness that the female immigrant is a victim of and tries to understand the dual nature of self-perception that is the direct consequence of such a dilemma.

Feminist Existentialism: A Case Study of Kamila Shamsi’s Burnt Shadows and Bapsi Sidhwa’s the Bride 

Saad ul Hassan & Muhammad Hassan Qadeer Butt
Government College Lahore

Who is a woman? What role does she play in society? From where do the specific roles associated with a woman emerge? Why do the predetermined functions of women define their existence in societies like those existing in Pakistan? These are the questions which directly deal with the presence of women in our society. Women, mashed between the debate of sex and gender are still striving for the determination of their existence. This paper aims to discuss the Existentialist philosophy from the feminist point of view. With the help of Simon de Beauvoir’s work of feminist existentialism titled as The second Sex, we shall explore Kamila Shamsi and Bapsi Sidhwa’s views on the psychological subjugation of women and their quest for identity in the light of their novels Burnt Shadows and The Bride. This paper starts with the basic discussion about feminism, existentialism, and the process of how both these ideologies merged together. It will be followed by an in-depth analysis of these two texts dealing with questions like where is the women’s own presence? Where is life, they themselves want to live? Are they free from all sorts of chains while deciding for themselves? We shall further strengthen our stance with the help of Montaigne, Nietzsche, Harold Bloom, Judith Butler and Arun Parkash D`Souza’s works on feminism and existentialism.

Expression of Marginalized Feminine Sentimentality and Sexuality in Literary Works

Maham Jamal
Lahore University of Management Sciences

In many wakes of human existence, the feminine voice has long been absent. In the Western Cannon, after Sapho, the next female writer writing about women was not heard of until the late Eighteenth Century. However, as the centuries have gone by, literature has evolved and so has the way in which narratives are written. Keeping the Pakistani context under reflection, there was a time not long ago when writers like Saadat Hassan Manto were banned - having depicted the plight of women- under the guise of obscenity. Today however, narratives not only written about women but those having female authorship have emerged in countless numbers. Looking at conventional writers like Khalida Hussain, and contemporary writers like Neelum Ahmed, this paper will attempt to depict that where all other spaces fail women, literature becomes the space where the silenced female narrative finds unprejudiced voice. In a place where mere open dialogue can be easily censored, literature is emerging as an unbiased, uncensored space, despite the misogynistic elements still present in our society. It is where raw feminine sentimentalities find expression; including those which uncover crimes of brutality committed against women. This paper aims to explore feminine sentimentality in response to the atrocities such as marriages to the Holy Quran and emotional abuse such as life-long neglect and objectification as portrayed in literature. Literary works such as these become a mode of expression which leaves a stark impact. These narratives can in turn be used to not only understand but to also change the condition of women within an otherwise rigid and unforgiving culture.

Gender and Legal Imaginations

Recovery and Restoration Act; the Patriarchal Creation of the Indian and Pakistani States

Syed Ali Mehdi Zaidi
Lahore University of Management Sciences

The construction of the Pakistani and Indian states can be traced to the events which preceded the partition of the subcontinent. Previous research has shown and elaborated how the construction of these states was inextricably tied to certain notions of belonging which could be communal, religious, and even ethnic in nature. In effect, the notion of the 'nation' was being constructed as the state organized itself to deal with the events of Partition. One of the main issues the state found itself confronting was of abducted persons; this was dealt with by introducing the 'recovery and restoration act' which defined 'persons' as any male below the age of 16 or a female of any age whatsoever. These 'recoveries', which could be done even against a person's will, and the concurrent legislation, substantively affected the nature of the state as it was being constructed. This paper will argue that the activities of both states during and immediately after partition demonstrate the patriarchal nature of these states. More pertinently, because this was happening during the construction of the state itself, it had a substantive impact on the inherent structure of the state which came into existence. In effect, during partition, when family patriarchs failed in their supposed 'responsibilities', the state emerged as the patriarch par excellence which took upon itself not only the responsibility to discipline the sexuality, but the physical bodies, of 'women of the nation'. Lastly, this construction of the state as patriarchal continues to have an afterlife which manifests itself even in the modern day.

Ali Muhammad v Ali Muhammad: Locating the Law’s Point of View

Sana Naeem
Lahore University of Management Sciences

The 1996 judgement of the Pakistan Supreme Court given in the case of Ali Muhammad v. Ali Muhammad is particularly important in Pakistani criminal law, coming in the aftermath of the Islamization of the Pakistan Penal Code. The defendant, charged for the murder of his wife’s lover, argued that his crime could be mitigated if the court considered that he had been gravely provoked, and had acted in self-defense. Given that the murder took place after he walked in on the couple together, the court was inclined to grant the validity of his defense. Interestingly, while these defenses had been repealed following Islamization, the Supreme Court proceeded to read them back into the existing PPC, holding that they were still applicable post Islamization. In this paper, I seek to establish that the courts’ need to read these defenses back into the law, as well as the language and reasoning they employ while doing so, betrays a certain way of seeing female bodies and voices. More particularly, I suggest that both the treatment of these defenses and the way in which this treatment is executed, are indicative of a male need to control female sexuality, as well as certain ideas of ownership and property. It is in the examination of these notions of female sexuality and ownership, and their intersection, that I find cause to question the law’s portrayal of itself as a ‘neutral arbiter of justice among conflicting interests’. In fact, I will go so far as to argue that the positionality of the law is inherently a gendered one, and determined in the particulars by the facts of who makes the law, who dispenses it, and who it is dispensed upon. Bearing this in mind, it becomes imperative to problematize and question the law’s claims to neutrality and objectivity and look at the implications of the essentially male point of the view the law espouses.

The Issue of Inheritance for the Transgender Community in Pakistan

Ali Rafi
Lahore University of Management Sciences

The research seeks to look at the laws in Pakistan pertaining to the issue of inheritance for the transgender community. The issue of social exclusion and economic exploitation of the transgender community stems from grievances with regards to lack of opportunities and discrimination from law enforcement agencies and the legislator of the country. A large segment of the transgender community is unable to live with their natural families and is forced to live a life in isolation. This entails that they lose out on their ability to inherit any capital or property. This adds to their inability to land jobs and creates an economic problem which often forces them to indulge in beggary or prostitution. Solving the issue of inheritance will be a large leap forward in addressing a plethora of the problems surrounding the transgender community and would be considered affirmative action for a marginalized and oppressed community which exists in a large number in Pakistan. The research seeks to look at currently existing legislators on the issue of inheritance. Furthermore, it seeks to look at ground realities which prove to be hindrances in the way of implementation of existing laws. The research will also focus on comparing laws in Pakistan with other regional and culturally similar countries. The Supreme Court of Pakistan in Dr. Mohammad Aslam Khaki vs the Senior Superintendent of Police (Rawalpindi) in the Constitutional Petition No. 43 in 2009 ruled that The Federal and Provincial Governments are bound to provide eunuchs protection of life and property. More efforts are required by the Social Works Department for true implementation of the orders of the court. The Law Enforcement Agencies have often not reported cases relating to eunuchs to the courts and have treated them unfairly. There is currently no mechanism for locating the parentage of eunuchs in Pakistan. The eunuch community is bound to get their share of inheritance, but no progress has been made on this behalf so far. The Social Works departments need to seriously consider devising a strategy for implementation of inheritance rights and parentage location of eunuchs. The courts in the country have conceded for years that there is no mechanism for delivery of rights to eunuchs and the transgender community with regards to inheritance in Pakistan. The research will provide examples of policies adopted by other countries to improve the mechanism and will include implementation mechanisms based on interviews to suggest what can be done to improve the condition.

Locating Psychology in the Study of Gender

Gender Differences in the Fear of Crime and Precautionary Behaviors

Taskeen Mansoor
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi

This preliminary quantitative study was conducted to explore the gender differences in the fear of crime victimization and associated precautionary behaviors. The objective was to examine the perception of students regarding their fear, safety concerns and precautionary behaviors with respect to different types of crime along with the intensity of fear of crime from strangers as compared to acquaintances. A questionnaire was designed and administered on 180 students of public and private universities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi (90 males, 90 females) selected via purposive convenience sampling technique. Statistical analysis showed a significant difference in the responses of males and females where females were more worried and felt more unsafe about being a victim of a crime than males. This disproportional high fear among women is termed by many researchers (Smith & Torstensson, 1997, Hale 1996) as the “gender-fear paradox”. Furthermore, more females observed precautionary behaviors to avoid being a victim of a crime in relation to the males. The females were fearful of crime related to use of public transport, sexual and gender-based attack whereas males feared verbal abuse by strangers or acquaintances. It was discussed that individuals undertake precautionary behaviors as outlets for expression of anxiety and to avoid being a victim of crime. In particular, females, being members of a marginalized and vulnerable group, may consider themselves as potential victims to crimes and therefore exhibit a high fear of crime along with higher incidence of precautionary behavior. Furthermore, in the patriarchal structure of the Pakistani society, the sociocultural norms and traditional gender role socialization teaches the boys to be dominant, risk-takers and fearless and the girls to be submissive, risk avoiding and fearful which tends to restrict the mobility and freedom of females.

Invisible Scars are Not a Crime: Comparison of Domestic Violence Laws in Pakistan, India, and Turkey

Naima Qamar
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Violence against women is a daily phenomenon everywhere. For a vast majority of homes across the world, women have accepted and internalised the violence that has become their everyday. 43% of women in 28 EU member states alone have experienced some psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Acid attacks, rape, honour killings are where we in Pakistan, draw the line and sometimes not even then. This paper attempts to look at domestic violence (by an intimate partner) in the context of Pakistan but more specifically at emotional abuse. My paper is divided into six parts, part I introduces the topic while part II contextualises psychological abuse in international law. Part III focuses on Pakistan with a close examination of how far emotional abuse is considered as domestic violence, part IV compares domestic violence laws of Pakistan with those of countries like India and Turkey, how far can they be imported and applied, part V discusses survey results, part VI concludes the essay. For lack of space and because much has been written on the topic, this essay will not look at forced marriages, honour killings or any form of physical violence. The greatest hurdle it seems for the implementation of domestic violence laws will be societal attitudes. As long as men consider women vulnerable and inferior, they will not respect women as equals and as deserving of all their fundamental human rights. Be it simple patriarchy, religion or culture, all of these help to perpetuate gender-based violence.

Role of Parenting in Emotional Development of Adolescents

Fariha Aftab & Taskeen Mansoor
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi

This quantitative study was conducted to explore the differences in parenting styles and their relationship with emotional development of adolescents. For this purpose, two standardized scales, Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ) by Buri (1991) and Emotion Awareness Questionnaire (EAQ) by Rieffe, Miers, Terwogt (2008) were used and administered on 120 adolescents of government schools in Wah Cantt (60 girls, 60 boys). The ages of selected sample ranges from 13-16 years. The collected data was analyzed using t-test and the correlation in the SPSS (version 20).Overall, there was a non-significant difference in the responses of girls and boys regarding the parenting styles of father and mother. The findings for authoritative parents show that the greater response rate was for authoritative mothers and girls as compared to boys considered their parents more authoritative. However, for the “permissive” subscale for mothers, there was a significant difference. Boys as compared to girls considered their father permissive as well as authoritarian while girls as compared to boys considered their father authoritative. It was also found that there was a relationship between parenting and emotional development. The statistically significant result shows that the adolescents perceiving their mother as “authoritarian” can differentiate between their emotions. The study concluded that parenting styles as perceived by the adolescents paved way for their emotional development. Gender differences in emotional development of adolescents emerge when parents create differences between their children and gave preference to boys. Parents should give proper time to their children especially when they are adolescents and have to listen their issues and also consider their views in decision making.

Gender and the Sacred

Bibi Pak Daman: A Feminized Spatial Study

ShahBano Ali Khan
Beaconhouse National University

‘Space’ on its own has no meaning, its real significance lies in its interaction with a web of social relations that provide a meaningful approach to look into certain processes that have helped shape the course of its physical, psychological, social, political, and functional actualities. Yet there seems to be a wide chasm between what space means in its individuality and what it comes to mean to individuals. Taking this as a starting point, the research paper aims to articulate a relationship between the ‘spatial sacred’ and its gendered manifestation contextualized through an ethnographic study of a female shrine in Lahore. A female shrine becomes particularly important in exploring the performance of gender under conditions of spatial inclusion/exclusion preconditioned by various religious narratives, sectarian claims, urban expectations, economic realities, historical contestation, a changing nature of power and authority, and an often ambiguous but flexible definition ‘selfhood’. The question then is: If a shrine is structured and consequently developed around a female saint, does that mean female frequenters have a different almost unique relation to the shrine, and in turn to space itself? How do women come to access the ‘feminized sacred space’? For the purpose of this study, space was approached using a theoretical lens- an objective and a subjective component. It is at once material and social, meaningful and empty- real and imagined. Where space defines and upholds the organizational structure of the shrine, place renders the same into a canvas for a subjective experience; ‘space-making’, political in nature, is tied to religious, administrative, sectarian, and economic insinuations whereas ‘place-attachment’, subjective in essence, is tied to a particularized experiential reality. Women are often aligned in accordance with a particular social way of operating in ‘space’ and experience the remnants of that in their ‘place’. When one envisions a female shrine there is a reflexive move towards spatial freedom of gender, or an instant sense of solidarity with other women in the space. In reality, it is the multiple forms of spatial and temporal structures that promote or challenge different ways of relating to the space. If abstract spiritual perceptions of women ground them in an autonomous and equally important place in society, social conventions hold the power to contradict those abstractions. The sacred space is then a contested site as much as an access for ‘selfhood’. It means a woman has a unique experience of what it means to practice religion, and locate it spatially. It also means that spaces inhabited by women will operate on a sense of public/private and exclusive/inclusive notions. Yet ground realities point to transcending such distinct conceptions. In truth, neither is gender a monolithic category, nor is it easily located in spatial distinctions. While the shrine is popularly known as a space for women- it is in fact connected to broader practice of social, political, economic, cultural, and spiritual developments; a female experience in that development largely depends on where she stands in society. Bibi Pak Daman (The Chaste lady) is indeed a female shrine, but is it an autonomous one?

The Shahadat of Karbala: Zainab Binte Ali, Gender and Witnessing

Syeda Mehr Mustafa
Beaconhouse National University

The 21st century is witness to numerous Islamic movements that idealize the Muslim past and aim to return to its ideological and militant glory. The doctrine of Shahadat has been a crucial pillar of these movements. Shahadat in its broadest definition alludes to a simultaneous being of the Muslim as a shaheed (martyr) and a shahid (witness. However, the notion of Shahadat has been hijacked by masculine discourses that reduce it to the martyr express it solely in relation to the battlefield and militant combat. What then is the relationship of women to Shahadat? How do Muslim women engage with the subjectivity of being a Shaheed/Shahid? What notions of Self, Time, Justice, Community, Responsibility, Polity, Divine Decree does, can, or should a Muslim woman hold? The aim of this exploratory research is to holistically explore the relationship of women with the doctrine of Shahadat, through a deconstruction of the Shahadat of Karbala and Zainab Binte Ali’s relationship with it. First by establishing the place women establish within Islamic nationalist history, the predominant Islamic archive and historians which dominate it. Then exploring the various interpretations through which Zainab Binte Ali has been appropriated over time with the Shiite and Islamic imagination. The second section expands on the doctrine of Shahadat through a linguistic, historical and social contextualization within and outside Islam- concentrating on its importance within the Shiite knowledge system. The third section delves into the Shahadat of Karbala; by briefly examining a socio-political history of Karbala and an analytical framework with which this research aims to study the idea of Karbala. The fourth section analyzes three key speeches made by Zainab at three different stages of the event, and their importance in articulating her theory of witnessing. The last section probes into the relationship of Zainab with the mourning gatherings of majalis; their epistemological aims and its evolution into today’s mourning institutions of Muharram.

Ismaili Perceptions of Women’s Emancipation: Past and Present

Mustafa Kamal
Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC)

This paper aims to look at the Ismaili perceptions of women’s emancipation, which have largely been influenced by the Ismaili Imams. It maps and analyzes these perceptions based on a textual analysis of available publications on the topic, speeches and farmans of Ismaili Imams, and 30 in-depth interviews with Ismaili people from Gilgit-Baltistan (men and women of different age groups and education levels) selected by using a snow-ball method to understand their perception of women emancipation with relation to the centrality of Imam. The paper mainly focuses on the teachings of the two recent Ismaili Imams, Aga Khan III and Aga Khan IV, on women’s emancipation and how these teachings were perceived, interpreted and followed by Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan. The Imams have uplifted Ismaili women’s position in the society by giving them an equal status to men, by abolishing the veil, by opening girls’ and nursing schools, and by strictly ordering their male murids to educate their daughters. The paper explores the ways this role played by the Ismaili Imams influenced the position of Ismaili women and how different aspects of women’s emancipation could materialize in the absence of a women’s struggle and through the leadership of an enlightened male elite. It also looks at the impact of this leadership regarding the education level among the Ismaili community in Gilgit-Baltistan’s two predominant Ismaili districts – Hunza and Ghizer.

Multiculturalism and Feminism: The Case of Muslim Women

Madiha Nadeem
Lahore College for Women University

Multiculturalism is a concept that has been used for the recognition of minorities’ identity, mainly in countries that have liberal democratic political systems. The relationship between feminism and multiculturalism is one that raises questions between supporters of both sides: Can modern western society involve in the policies of toleration of diversity within society while simultaneously pursuing its commitment to women’ rights? Is multiculturalism a threat for feminism? And more importantly, can the two concepts be pursued in the case of Muslim women? Tensions of culture and rights may not be the same everywhere. The global north often defends the universal application of rights and law for everyone, even for minorities, whereas, the global south does not agree with it. Multiculturalism has been defended and criticized on the basis of religious and cultural grounds, and it is claimed that cultural practices often come at the expense of women’s rights, especially in case of the Muslim community. The salient issues that created this tension are; a ban on the veil, religious education, polygamy and female genital mutilation. This paper studied the concept of multiculturalism as a political practice, or policy discourse in different contexts and the assumptions that the outcome of multicultural discourses creates a binary between culture and women’s rights. This paper examined the ways in which Muslim women are used as a symbol for the perceived incompatibility of multiculturalism and specific cultural practices and explore the ways in which multiculturalism and feminism are or can be made broadly compatible for at least achieving the goal of “accepting the differences respectfully”.

Gender, Labor, and the Household

Gender, Domestic Work and Informal Credit

Hasan Shahid
Lahore University of Management Sciences

This study is based upon the senior project I completed last semester and the ongoing research I’m in the process of conducting. For my senior project, I looked at the impact of reputation and the desire to retain a worker on the amount of informal credit available to that domestic worker. My findings were based on a vignette experiment conducted with 711 participants and suggested that the employer’s decision about whether or not to give a loan is based on altruistic rather than instrumental motivations. This may be representative of a broader patriarchal structure which undervalues domestic work, which is mostly conducted by women. The act of giving and receiving charity has implications on the power relationships between the giver and the receiver. In this project, I analyze how female domestic workers strategize in the ways in which they approach their employer in order to maximize the amount of informal credit they receive. I will make use of a similar vignette experiment model, which looks at how employers would respond differently to a domestic worker who presents herself as ‘needy’ as opposed to a domestic worker who presents herself as ‘efficient.’ Domestic work, even when the worker is paid, is viewed differently from other forms of work. This study aims to analyze how that difference serves to maintain certain power relationships between the employer and the worker and allows for a continued subordination of women, where the contributions of female domestic workers are persistently undervalued.

Analysis of the Collective Action of All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association in light of Competing Theoretical Frameworks

Maha Salman
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Lady Health Workers Programme was launched by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1994, to create a cadre of female community-based health workers who can provide door-to-door health care facilities in rural as well as urban centers of the county. This programme was designed to operationalize the National Programme of Family Planning and Primary Health Care, which is one of the vertical health care programmes. Although this initiative is primarily designed to cater the healthcare needs of women in Pakistan but ironically the lady health workers (LHWs) operate within the same gender system that necessitates their appointment in the first place. The working conditions for these healthcare heroines have been stringent with a looming threat to their health and life. Healthcare system in Pakistan was one of the first victims of the war on terror and this infested the working conditions of these LHWs further to the extent that their job was declared as one of the most dangerous jobs in Pakistan. The formation of All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association (APLHWWA) was a ray of hope for these “invisible workers” to collectively rise up for their labor rights. The phenomenon was unique, as never before in Pakistan’s history women workers in any sector had waged a collective struggle or exercised the right to ‘collective bargaining’. The research will discuss how the collective action was organized, its effects on the working conditions of LHWs and other broader benefits it bagged.

Conceptualizing Women’s Empowerment

Manal Shekhani and Mahnoor Bawaney
Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

This research proposal aims to analyze how the transition of women from dominating the private domestic sphere, to gaining a place in the public sphere in Pakistan has affected the power dynamics of the household, in regard to money. It will also overlook the representation of working women in Pakistani media where they are shown to be extremely headstrong and uncompromising. The paper will aim to uncover the authenticity of this portrayal. The underlying question this research paper aims to ask is that, does empowerment of women in the public sphere, which refers to acquiring jobs and performing them (relating to women from all sectors of society) equate to empowerment of women in the private sphere even though women have started to contribute to the household resources, have the power dynamics shifted from the patriarchal structure? The proposed methodology is to incorporate both primary and secondary data to answer the question. For the collection of the primary data 8 unstructured open-ended interviews would be conducted with 2 women from the lower class, 2 from the lower middle class, 2 from the upper middle class and 2 from the upper class. There will be 8 unstructured open-ended interviews with the husbands of these women, respectively. The findings from these interviews will be compared to research conducted by Carolyn Vogler in her essay, ‘Money in the household: Some underlining issues of Power.’

Representing Gendered Worlds

Examining Public Response on Social Media to Sharmeen Obaid Chinnoy’s Documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Sara Ayaz Butt
Lahore University of Management Sciences

This ethnographic study aims at examining how public in Pakistan has reacted to A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness on social media (Facebook in particular). Firstly, I have documented various responses (both criticism and applause) that the documentary has received and observed/investigated any emerging/underlying trends in thoughts and opinions. Also, while documenting I have distinguished between critiques aimed at the contents of the documentary and those aimed at Chinnoy herself. Secondly, I have critically analyzed and explored whether the responses received by Chinnoy’s documentary and the posts regarding it reflect something larger going on in the fabric of Pakistani society. Essentially, I attempted to understand why some readily accepted the documentary while others rejected it and what do the observed trends (if any) mean anything for society at large? I proceeded by documenting the responses only made by Pakistani nationals to posts on various Facebook pages. These pages included the documentary maker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinnoy’s official page, popular Pakistani media/news/publishing official pages, notable religious clergy official pages, popular journalists and TV News Anchors official pages, popular civil society activists’ official pages and international media official pages. Furthermore, the nature of posts themselves was examined i.e., whether the posts provided news coverage or were opinion columns/articles (positive or negative), media clips, status updates etc. Responses were selected through random sampling technique and comments selected had to fulfill strict criteria in order to avoid commenters from fake Facebook profiles. For ethical reasons, strict confidentiality was maintained to protect the identity of commentators.

Writing Selves: Urdu Women’s Digests in Twentieth Century Pakistan

Noor Shahzad
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Women’s magazines, better known as digests, are a popular genre of contemporary Urdu fiction. These digests (Shuaa, Pakeza, Khwateen, Anchal etc.) are widely circulated and have a strong readership. My project aims to look at the affective space that the digest provides to women who read and write within these digests. I will look at the issues of Shua and Khwateen Digest from early 2000s to the current issues in print to explore the practices of reading these digests upon which affective relationship with the digest is predicated. My research would engage with the particular sections of digests which include sections on letters as well as reader-response sections such as survey questionnaires. This is important for a number of reasons. Most readings of digests focus on the tropes and representations found within the fiction of digests and the context of these representations as opposed to the ways in which they are received. While the dynamic world of letter writers and readers’ personal responses provided within the digest remain peripheral to academic investigations it is central to understanding the ways in which readers navigate the space of the digest. By engaging with the sections of letters and personal narratives, my project aims to complicate the reading of digests beyond ideas of ‘pulp’ fiction and try to understand the digest on its own terms. For the purpose of this project, I have complemented archival research with sociological research in the form of interviews which has helped me contextualize practices of readership.

The Actor, the Dancer, the Joker and the Prostitute: The Creation and use of the Stage Show form in Pakistan

Shehzad Ghias

The most popular form of live entertainment in Pakistan is ‘Stage Shows’, also known as ‘Commercial Theatre’ due to their mass appeal. Commercial Theatre rose to popularity during the 1980s in Pakistan, particularly in the urban centers of Lahore and Karachi. The Stage Shows are an amalgamation of drama, music, dance and comedy: they emerged from the evolution of different theatrical traditions in Pakistan. Scholarship has largely ignored the role of Stage Shows in the historical narrative of theatre in Pakistan and the populist Commercial Theatre in Pakistan has been understudied, and underrepresented. Through tracing the history of the creation of Stage Shows, I plan to define the theatrical framework of the form, and contextualize it in the grander historical narrative. My thesis seeks to answer two questions: a) How was the Stage Form created? b) How has Stage Show form been used in Pakistan? The Commercial Theatre structure in Pakistan is highly patriarchal with almost all positions of power belonging exclusively to men. These men control the form, and the content. Through this control they were able to promote an idea; the myth of an ideal Pakistani woman. Tying womanhood to ideas of nationalism, religion, and morality gave their vision more credibility with the masses. The Commercial Theatre movement successfully challenged the hegemony of the bourgeois, urban theatre elite. Its mass popularity allowed it to promote ideas to the masses. I will argue that the Stage Show form was used to promote specific ideas about gender during the 1980s and 90s. These ideas were masked under the rhetoric of nationalism and religion. The popular nature of Stage Shows helped the state create ideas about how a Pakistani woman should behave I will be mainly focusing on the hub of these performances, Lahore and Karachi. Resources will include books, journal articles, newspaper articles, and interviews, scholarship and documentary evidence on theatre in India and Pakistan, as well as observations from numerous video recordings of Stage Shows. I will also rely of the many performances that I have seen between 2007 and 2013, my own experience of working as a theatre practitioner in Pakistan, and primary interviews conducted with theatre practitioners in Pakistan.

Gender, Violence, and Policy

Project Dareecha: Creating Awareness About the Legal Rights of Working Women

Anusha Fatima, Fatin Nawaz, Hasan Naqvi
Habib University

The women of South Asia have a particularly abusive relationship with the state and its institutions. Gendered violence in the region is relentless and the support for women who’ve faced it is minimal. Last summer, we worked on Zariya India - a service that gives these women access to relevant authorities for legal and counselling help. We helped set up the service to collect statistics and model social problems into computational ones. We wanted to continue work on gender violence in a more local context and so, we have started our work on Project Dareecha. Our research is on how working women proceed when gendered violence is done to them; do they understand the legal rights they have? Do they report their cases to HR? Do they take it forward if HR is unsupportive? Our intuition is that working women, particularly in Karachi, are not aware of their legal rights and this is because the legal information is too dense and not delivered through the right medium. We believe it needs to be presented in layperson’s terms with multilingual translations for readability. We are studying laws with the direct consultation of lawyers and activists who helped create these laws. Our service will provide visual, interactive, and multilingual infographics that will not only represent the legality of working women’s rights but also give statistical representation of gendered workplace violence, so women know they are not alone in facing abuse. These infographics will inform working women about actions that can be taken if they find themselves in an abusive situation, the key aspects of the previous successful cases, and a step-by-step guide on how to take the case to the higher authorities. Our service will empower working women to raise their voice against injustice by making them more conscious about the problem itself and the solutions available.

Combating Violence against Women in Pakistan through Application of CEDAW

Maria Khan    
Lahore University of Management Sciences

In 1996, Pakistan ratified the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) with an aim to eliminate all legal and societal practices which are discriminatory against women and achieve gender equality in law and society. CEDAW serves as an exemplary legislation, and thus there is a need to bring domestic legislation in conformity with its requirements. This paper analyses the incorporation of CEDAW into the domestic law of the country. Through analyzing the provisions of CEDAW which address violence against women, the essay examines three Pakistani laws which have been made in lieu of them namely The Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act 2007, The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 and The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2012 and their compatibility with CEDAW. This is done by a comparison of language of laws with the provisions of CEDAW, evidence from state reports to the CEDAW Committee and lastly, by analyzing the implementation of laws and their relationship with socio-cultural atmosphere of the country. In addition to it, the paper addresses the weaknesses of CEDAW as an international treaty. It is argued that even though Pakistani government has passed these landmark legislations to combat violence against women, the incidents of violence have not been decreased in previous years rather have increased in Pakistani society. This is because of the reason that these protective legislations in themselves contain legal ambiguities such as drafting, procedural and language errors which make them inconsistent with requirements of CEDAW and thus reduce their effective implementation. At the end, the paper provides solutions or mechanisms through which Pakistan can become successful in domesticating CEDAW and eventually eliminating violence against women from the country.

Justice Served? Has the Pakistani Response to Rape Been Sufficient?

Faraz Ahmed Sheikh and Syed Waqar Alam
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Women’s voices remain out of the forefront when it comes to policymaking in Pakistan thus gender inequity remains entrenched in our law and institutions. Our research on the Policy response to Rape examines the construction of laws, the implementation of said laws, the impact of laws on the lives of women, Pakistan’s Institutional record on rape, the regional response to rape, the role of official and non-official actors in shaping the policy discourse and proposes solutions to overcome core issues. Special focus is given to the Hudood Ordinance’s role in forming the definitional and evidentiary standards for rape. The policy response is further examined through the lens of Political Islam, Pakistani Culture and Islamic Law. The Pakistani State’s Institutional failures in providing access to justice and the socio-cultural barriers to justice remain challenges to overcome. The current policy centers on The National Commission on the Status of Women in Pakistan, the re-examined Hudood Ordinance as well as the Protection of Women Act 2006. All these measures still leave evidentiary standards lackluster even as they improve on them. Contrasting Pakistani Law with Bangladeshi and Indian Law suggests that Pakistan can improve. Also, the role of the Judiciary, Islamist parties, The Council of Islamic Ideology, Civil Society and Media is examined to see each’s impact. The paper ends with a discussion of solutions and the issues with such solutions in the present context. Our research relied on source readings from NGO’s, newspapers and journals as well as personal interviews with experts on Islamic Law and Civil Society activists working on rape.