Colloquium 2017

Law, Policy and Vulnerability

Gender Sensitization in Policies on IDP’s

Najeeha Raza and Arooj Shams
Lahore University of Management Sciences

The paper focuses on the gender imbalances in repatriation policy for the internally displaced people (IDPs) of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, which have been subject to various militant insurgencies and counterinsurgencies by the Pakistan military, the most recent large scale counterinsurgency being the Operation Zarb-e-Azb (commenced in June 2014). The aim of this project is to identify the problems faced by internally displaced females globally, study the legal instruments which recognize their issues and provide solutions, study policies pertaining to the situation of female IDPs in FATA, identify failures of rehabilitation and challenges faced by women and girls in the wake of these failures, study and analyze the models used by other countries to combat such issues and lastly it aims to propose recommendations. The paper specifically investigates the policy failures and social conditions faced by women and girls due to unsuccessful rehabilitation of IDP’s in FATA. We will be carrying out primary research by conducting interviews and gathering statistical data from organizations working on this issue including various IGOs and NGOs such as UNHCR, UNDP, Frontier Rural Development Program, Pakistan Red Crescents Society etc. , engaging with researchers, policy makers and experts on this matter and possibly explore IDP camps to take into account issues faced by women and girls on ground.

Gender and Climate Change

Omer Akif
Lahore University of Management Sciences

As the growing menace of anthropogenic Climate Change surges in intensity each passing day, its recognition as a global crisis is focused largely on technical and economic solutions and ignores significant human and gender dimensions. Sociological alongside economic surveys and extensive research studies have made it quite evident that the magnitude to which different members of society are affected by Climate Change impacts is greatly dependent upon their social status, gender, financial means, ownership and access to basic resources. In this regard, it is also accepted in a growing body of international civil society and organizational discourse that contribution of men and women towards sustainable development is distinguished by the differential set of skills and experiences they possess. Despite this realization, millions of women all over the world still have lesser economic, political and legal clout due to a continuous history of marginalization that leaves them ever more vulnerable and exposed to the adverse effects of the changing climate. It would not be improper to suggest that empowering almost half the planet’s population by addressing the inherent gender inequalities and socio-economic disadvantages that women specifically endure, would be a critical step towards making global climate adaptation efforts more impactful. This article would attempt to scrutinize claims of gender-based vulnerability to climate change by engaging in primary and secondary research and seeking legal and political solutions to these challenges.

Patriarchy, Public Policy and Land Rights for Women in Pakistan

Sana Raffique and Ayesha Khalid
Lahore University of Management Sciences

This paper presents findings from fieldwork conducted in Punjab and Sindh, the two largest provinces of Pakistan. The purpose of the research is to analyze why and how women’s landownership and control of land in Pakistan remains severely restricted. Only three percent of the total landholding is in women’s name, which flies in the face of their constitutional right to inherit and hold land. Our findings from this qualitative study suggest that women are prevented from receiving their inheritance because of patriarchy’s hierarchical norms that systematically trump public policy. Customary practices that prevent women’s access to land include their social sanctioning if they ask for their share in the land, the restrictions placed on women in the name of purdah (veil) whether elite or non-elite, the feudal writ of law that expressly ignores their constitutional rights and an agricultural economy that excludes women from all but the most menial of labors.


Sexual Violence and Masculinity: A legal Analysis of Male Sexual Abuse in Pakistan

Naima Qamar
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Sexual assault is primarily associated with a crime committed upon women. It remains a taboo topic and where discussed is done inventively by questioning a girl’s dress, honour and character. Masculinity when confronted with cases of such assault has not claimed the same space for discussion. It remains a greater taboo as it blemishes the ideals of masculinity associated with strength, power and independence. The query presented is how courts deal with issues of sodomy where violence is committed on men by other men. Firstly, the laws and statistics will be introduced after which judgements of the High Courts and the Supreme Court will be looked at to analyse the treatment given to rape cases as regards the cases on sodomy. Are judges affected by certain biases or do they hold similar biases against male survivors? Does the reputation or character of either kind of survivors affect the mitigation of sentences? Next, this paper will look at work conducted on male assault survivors and how assault affects men in their relationships as well as society’s outlook on masculinity where such assault goes unreported and unpunished. In conclusion, through discussing the view of courts and research, this undertaking will present recommendations for tackling with abuse in our society as well as how discussions of masculinity need to evolve.

Understanding of Masculinity

Ayesha Khwaja
Lahore University of Management Sciences

My research aims to understand how “masculinity” is understood and what role it plays in the lives of men that fall in the age group of 18-24. I want to pay particular attention to what “masculine” roles entail for them, how this understanding comes into being, whether this understanding aligns with that of ‘social’ masculinity, and if efforts have been made to challenge their predefined functions in society.I have found that there is a clear dichotomy between what men perceive as the ‘social’ definition of masculinity, and the definition that they have created for themselves. Therefore, I aim to explore the concept of fluidity in masculine identities, and the reasons behind this fluidity. Through that, I would like to understand whether or not men feel subjugated and constrained by having to live according to a preordained conception of masculinity that they were born into. The paper uses in-depth unstructured interviews coupled with participant observation to obtain a more direct understanding of how men perceive their world.

Exploring the Complexities and Processes that Lead to High Male Dropout Rate At Secondary Level in Pakistan

Jahsir Shahbaz and Talha Ahmed
Lahore University of Management Sciences

There has been a trend in dropout rate of boys from low cost private schools as they approach the years of secondary education. Whereas most academic literature on the issue of gender gaps in education tend to focus only on female dropout rate and suggest policies to improve only female literacy level. The policy interventions from government are centred on female literacy. Under influence of smart economics where donations and grants from donor and aid agencies are overwhelmingly channeled towards education of girls, the boys are silently dropping out of school. This study aims at examining the reasons behind considerable male dropout rate and to suggest holistic policies which would account both genders as a part of the same equation. The research was conducted in three urban dwellings where low income families and low cost private schools tend to cluster: Greentown, Gopi Rai and Johar Town. A detailed interview was taken from 31 dropped out boys (11-19 years old) along with 23 parents and 11 teachers from seven low cost private schools. The sample is restricted only to low cost private schools because free education in public schools results in different opportunity cost of keeping a boy in school. The numerous opportunities in informal labour market, no entry barriers in informal labour, multi grade teaching, large classroom size, order of birth and opportunity cost of boys’ time force parents to pull out their male child to help them share the economic burden. A comprehensive policy should be drafted to gauge the pattern of drop out students from low cost private schools. It is necessary to keep boys in school because otherwise they are just becoming part of a large unemployed male labour force, which sits at home, inflicts domestic violence, engage in drug abuse and criminal activities. It is important to talk about male drop out because it affects not only the boys but it also affect their families. In existing patriarchal setting, male head will remain the decision maker even if he is not the sole bread winner of family. So these unskilled boys are less likely to make better decisions regarding education, mobility and social participation of women of their family.

Gender and Spaces

Roohi Mai Hamai Azadi Milti Hai; Masculine Performances & Place-Making in Cholistan Desert

Syed Ali Mehdi Zaidi
Lahore University of Management Sciences

From Amangarh, a village near Rahim Yaar Khan, some men get on their bikes to travel deep into the Cholistan desert to spend time in the open wilderness. These trips have become something of a tradition amongst some men in the former nomadic, Hindu community of Cholistan. But they are not simply trips into the desert. They are representative of a broader connection with the desert sustained through these physical trips and other discursive practices. This paper attempts to answer two questions: First, why does the desert, as a space, come to occupy such an important place in the lives of these men? Second, how is it that that the desert is endowed with the meaning that it currently has for these men?

Gender, Space and dis-Belonging: Experience of Public Space in Lahore and London

Sama Khan
University of Westminster, London

Gender is an integral part of our urban space and contributes to the inequalities in the everyday lived dimensions of the built environment, by influencing behavioral patterns amongst men and women. Besides influencing the socio-cultural dimension of everyday practices gender also transforms the way in which space is perceived, conceived, and produced. This thesis explores the relationship between gender and space through the embodied experience of a female urban dweller in cultural contexts of Lahore and London. The research objective is to determine the difference between men and women’s experience of public space, attributable to gender identity and spatial identity as cultural outcomes. Film is employed as a medium to represent the experiential dimension and auto-ethnographic1 aspect of the thesis, in an attempt to capture the gendered reality of our cities by focusing on everyday life.

Gender and Taking Control of Spaces

Sakina Hassan
Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture

The basis for this research paper comes from the idea that, “claiming social space and being seen in public becomes a way for social groups to legitimate their right to belong in society.” (Holland, Clark et al. 2007:1). The classification of spaces based on gender occurs when individuals take it upon themselves to exploit the power associated with their genders and dominate social spaces. In a patriarchal society ‘fear leads women to take precautions which are often spatial, such as avoiding certain parts of the city or not going out after dark.’ Thus, spatial design can be used as a tool to overcome fear of participation of submissive genders and accommodate all segments of society in public spaces. Dr. Akbar Zaidi, in his lecture ‘Are Pakistani Women the New (or Only) Hope’ established the increase in the number of working women but lack of public transport, communal facilities, daycare centers and poor zoning result in commuting problems and wastage of time. This presents itself as a difficulty for women to balance their work and private life. Through an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of working women in Karachi, this research paper will analyze the way gender presents a restriction in gender parity, accessibility and social acceptance. At first a spatial analysis of an office environment is presented to illustrate gender neutrality. Commuting patterns of the female workers of this particular office will bring to light obstacles that impede their movements within the city. Lastly, the social issues that exist and arise when women participate as professionals will be highlighted.

Representing Gendered Worlds

Portrayal of Polygamy in Pakistani television dramas: A case study of ‘’Mera Saeein & Dosri Bivi”

Arooj Aurangzaib
University of Punjab

The phenomenon of Polygamy despite being legal in Pakistan is received with mixed responses of acceptance and rejection. There is still a lot of anxiety around polygamy as a legal marital system in the society; and hence it becomes important for researchers to critically look at how it is portrayed in the television. The study examines two Pakistani TV dramas with the theme of polygamy, Mera Saeein and Dosri Bivi, and finds out that the media’s acceptance of polygamy just like the general opinion of public is mixed. The thesis looks at how these dramas are portraying the image of the patriarch and the relationship among the co-wives through qualitative content analysis. The data collected is structured through narrative analysis, in which it is observed that in Mera Saeein the image of the patriarch is portrayed to be powerful, oppressive, manipulative, and the audience is not invited to sympathize with the patriarch. The excess of power is portrayed as a reason for the patriarch’s criminal entitlement throughout the drama. Most instances of interactions among the co-wives are competitive except for a major collaborative instance that happens only after the understanding of patriarch’s manipulation by both the wives. In Dosri Bivi the image of the patriarch is shown as a caring and loving family-man who is stuck in the conflicts because of the unfair life circumstances that ‘caused’ him to re-marry. There are both collaborative and competitive instances through which the co-wife relationships are portrayed. Almost all of the collaborative instances happen because otherwise patriarch’s emotional or physical health is perceived to be compromised by the wives. The resolution of Dosri Bivi where they start living happily, once the first wife accepts being a co-wife as God’s will, negligibly makes the burden of creating equilibrium on the dissatisfied wife’s shoulders stripping her of her emotions of hurt.

A Patriarchal Construct for Female Body Image: Advertisements in Pakistan

Aysha Pervaiz
FC College Lahore

This study aims to study the effects of electronic advertisements on young women especially university students. This study signifies how the media perpetuates certain aberrations regarding body image for females. How they are conditioned and forced into subversions of beauty and normalcy. Young women have to conform to phallocratic standards of a perfect body image. The advertisements reinforces cultural narratives of misogyny marginalizing women and forcing them into issues of body shaming, stigmatization, identification, projection and introjection. Advertising is today an inescapable part of people’s social settings. As such it is not surprising that the medium seeks to define women in relation to men, whilst the men are defined in relation to their work, their creativity or their play.This project explores the nature and the standards of advertising regarding the portrayal of women and is based upon the findings of a six month long data collection and subsequent data analysis of 50 commercials aired over different Pakistani T.V channels. Results reveal that the advertising is affecting the women’s notions of body image negatively leading to psychological problems like BDD (Body Dysmorphic disorder) and low self-esteem. The present study focuses on the advertisements of the electronic media. The method used to answer the questions was content analysis. The research design is one of mixed method so as to better explore the phenomenon of body image and its theoretical perspectives at different levels.

Broadcasting the Divide: Gender and Class Differentiation within the Representation of Women Domestic Workers in the Pakistani Media

Mahrukh Saleem Ansari
Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi

As a socio-cultural carrier of norms and values in the world of mass commuication, television media provides a major source of entertainment in developing countries such as Pakistan. Through its mode of representation exhibiting the relationship between power, patriarchy and gender, television drives a process of creating and transmitting a network of meanings that define people into social groups. In the light of media categorization facilitating the selective visibility of marginalized communities especially women domestic workers in Pakistan, the following dissertation seeks to examine the role played by the media in influencing public perception, attitudes and behavior towards domestic work services. By analyzing the centrality of representation in communication systems as proposed by Stuart Hall, I deconstruct the process of re-presenting reality using Marshal McLuhan's theories on Media Impacts on the beliefs and ideologies of the viewing audiences. The literature consulted as part of the secondary research includes an overview of domestic work services in the informal labor sector in Pakistan, and an analysis of media's creation of Maasi's (maid) characters reinforcing stereotypes. For the primary research conducted, I have employed qualitative research methods comprising of surveys and focus group discussions to evaluate: (1) The perceptions of the audiences on the portrayal of women domestic workers and (2) Domestic workers individual experiences on the media broadcasts of their disregarded 'worker' identity. Data to facilitate the discussion on the importance of media portrayals in terms of the dynamics governing representation has been collected from interviews with directors, scriptwriters and research professionals in the field of media and communication. The findings have been used in relation with the secondary data to analyze three case studies of dramas from popular entertainment channels of Pakistan - to determine the impact of such characters on the identity of women domestic workers as subordinate groups in a Pakistani society.

Representation of Gender in Pakistani Television

Syeda Jugnoo Kazmi
University of Kent, U.K.

Contrary to popular belief, the recent portrayal of women characters in TV dramas rather than displaying a leap from conventional attitudes to liberal depicts the exact opposite. Modern-day dramas show perpetuated clichéd and timeworn tropes of women instead of empowering women to unshackle them from entrenched patriarchy and stereotypical norms and conventions. The typical Pakistani female character is still shown to be either quarrelling with other women (often over a man) or pursuing one agenda - that of marriage. The research will explore as to how the Pakistani female character with time has become less progressive, less independent, and less empowered. There are various factors influencing this retrogression. The incumbent politics of the country has played a huge role in the exploitative treatment of female characters on-screen, for instance the treatment of the female protagonist prior and in particular, during, and post Zia regime. Furthermore, growing commercialism and proliferation of private TV channels has also led to greater objectification of women. This, combined with cultural invasion from across border i.e. exceedingly influential Indian TV dramas which induce stereotypical, backward and negative notions, have restricted the progression of the female character.

Conceptions of Crime, Honour and Violence

Accused Females Committing Offences under Section 302

Namra Khawar and Amina Mazhar
Fatima Jinnah College, Lahore

The objective of the study was to find out causes that forced women to attempt murder, the methods used to committing murder, and counseling training (moral, religious, psychological trainings ) for female prisoners. The research is qualitative in nature, and interviews were taken for this research. In this study the population was taken from Central Jail Kot Lakhpat Lahore. Sample of the study was comprised of twelve (12) female respondents from central jail kot lakhpat Lahore. The study was limited on very sample size based on specific area. In this research the researcher examined that mostly women attempt murder because of poverty, greed, violence and self-defense. Almost 33.33% of the respondents respond that poverty and 25% of the respondent response that violence was the cause of committing murder. The methods they used to committing murder were hitting with rod 33.33% respondents used rod and16.66% attacked with knife .Counseling trainings are also provided to these women. 33.33% respondents claim that they benefited from ‘ethical’ training, 16.66% from psychological training and 8.33% from ‘moral’ trainings. The paper also suggests that people should be made aware about such issues, research and debates via print media, broadcast programs on television and radio, so that the population is alerted about what’s going on in the country.

Rape Culture in Pakistan

Mahnoor Tariq and Zaara Ehsan
University of Punjab and SKANS

Rape Culture is defined as a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and violence against women. In a rape culture, women are continuously threatened by violence that can range from sexual remarks to the act of rape itself. Physical and emotional terrorism against women is considered routine (Buchwald, 1994). This project aims to shed light on its existence in Pakistan through a plethora of everyday examples that promote and sustain it. It looks at the concept of rape culture, its components and its disastrous effects on the mental and physical wellbeing of the individuals subject to it in our society. The paper discusses how the culture is perpetuated by the social structure and agents of socialisation like media, peers, parents etc. We intend to see the biggest contributing factor to rape myths/beliefs and see the social agents responsible for it. We are looking to conduct some surveys (primary research) in order to ascertain the above, deducing and evaluating results from that data. One of the examples of our surveys is that we are looking at some myths about rape. To find out what instigates those beliefs, we will conduct questionnaires from a certain age group. Even though rape culture is promoted through values and attitudes, we are positive that through time and effort, those values and attitudes can and will change. This project also looks at the practical measures which could be taken to deal with this issue. These include steps to stop adhering to this system and interviews with Pakistani organisations that are working to make society a safer place for everyone.

Perceptions and Representations of Women's Honour in Pakistan: A Critical Analyses through Popular Culture

Anam Fatima
University of Warwick, U.K.

The concept of honour and the resulting discourses have always been important for the women in Pakistan. This paper will utilize Butler’s theory of performativity and insights from feminist film theory to critique and evaluate women’s representation in Pakistani popular culture and thus engage with the politics of gender in Pakistan. The primary aim of this paper is to determine the extent to which the representation of women’s roles in contemporary Pakistani popular culture includes or relates to traditionalist discourses of honour. This will reveal that despite modernization and increased female education and labor participation, honour discourses still continue to be the most dominant feature of a woman’s life on screen and in pop culture.

Teenage Suicides in Hunza

Salma Khan
Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

This dissertation examines the causes and effects of teenage suicide in Hunza through qualitative research conducted with the family members, relatives and close friends of teenage suicide committers and five teenagers separately in Hunza. It also exploresthe impact of teenage suicides on other teenagers in Hunza and how perceptions of the causes of male and female suicides differ, and my research intends to investigate whether these perceptions are accurate. Using feminist methodology, I have conduct thirty in-depth interviews to ask about the causes and effects of suicide in their own words in the form of stories because suicide is perceived as a matter of shame and dishonor for the families and the community at large, which is why the issue remains hidden and taboo. My research findings showed that the major reasons behind teenage suicides were studies pressure, child parent gap, modernization, both physical and verbal violence in homes moreover I have found such cases where the cause of death was not actually suicide but presented as suicide. My research findings, especially data from suicide notes left behind by committers, showed that in various cases, suicides was conceived by the committers as a form of sacrifice and revenge. This research also attempted to document the methods being used by these teenagers to commit suicide, and whether these methods are different from those used in the past. The major effect of teenage suicides in Hunza is that suicide badly traumatized and effect the health of the people who are near to committers. Like due to teenage suicides, suicidal imagination amongst teenagers was quite high and family relations were complex and different for male and female teenagers. By introducing a family education and providing platform to youth, we can cope with the issue of suicides.

Gender, Agency and Education

Women Empowerment in Hunza: Highly Educated Women

Mehnaz Hayat
Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the sense of empowerment among highly educated women in Hunza. Feminist critical approach was used in this research in context of feminist knowledge, position and understanding. The study made an attempt to understand the social world from an insider’s point of view and experiences. There were 10 respondents altogether who gave in-depth interviews. The women interviewed were highly educated, mostly of the masters’ level. Some of the women were still studying and some were doing jobs. Women’s ownership of assets, decision-making and freedom of movement were used as indicators of women’s empowerment in this research. In addition, an attempt was made to elicit women’s own understanding of empowerment beyond how the literature explains it. The researcher concluded that the importance of education as a tool of development for women in Hunza is undeniable. But one should not assume that women can only be empowered through education. There are other indicators which play an equally important role in women empowerment.

Gender Imbalance in Higher Education: Philosophical Debates and State Policies in Higher Education of Pakistan

Asma Majeed and Dr. Ahmed Usman
University of Punjab

The aim of the research study is to study the Philosophical Debates and State Policies in Higher Education and to analyze the gender imbalance from an analytic dimension. It explores as how Pakistan has gone through enacted and adopted gender equality policies in educational institutions of higher education. First Data source in this research inquiry were educationists and policymakers. Second data source was policy documents about gender equality, human rights, and higher education in Pakistan. Review of the previous education policies provided the sense of policy trends of education in Pakistan and the researcher identified the problems and difficulties in achieving gender equality and education quality in Pakistan. Indepth interviews from the policy makers and educationists have been conducted to get in core analysis of viewpoints on the situation in higher education institutions. After reviewing the relevant literature and transcribing the interviews on gender equality and higher education, Five themes and five subthemes were emerged. These deduced themes were expanded to be explored in detail. Moreover, the proposed policy for ensuring gender equality in higher education has also been described for the policy makers.

Agency in Transgender Workers: A Case Study of Employment at Fountain House

Muhammad Hassan Qadeer 
GC University, Lahore

This paper intends to investigate the concept of agency in the transgenders who are formally employed by Fountain House, a mental health institution. ‘Agency’ in Sociology has been defined as the capacity of a human being to act independently within a given ‘Structure’ which denotes social factors such as religion, caste, sexuality etc. A ‘Structure’ limits or defines the circle of influence of ‘Agency’. In recent years, transgenders in Pakistan have launched a political campaign for their inclusion in government jobs. It’s thus clear that for them, having a stable job is an important factor in leading a more secure and stable life in which they’ll have more freedom to shape and determine their lives. This paper is an attempt to explain how the transgender individuals employed at Fountain House experience an increase in their Agency by virtue of being permanently employed at a respectable place. It’ll also attempt to show the aspirations of these individuals within the social context that they find themselves. Finally, the link between higher life aspirations and being formally employed would be made.

Gender Wage Inequality and Economic Growth

Mohd Ali Hassan
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Discrimination against women in the labor market, specifically in terms of lower wages being paid to women as compared to men on average is a topic of profound socio-economic importance and the subject of active research in economics today. Many studies have been carried out regarding the gender wage gap in different countries, attempting to mathematically analyze the differential between average wages for men and women having otherwise similar education, experience and other individual characteristics. Some studies have also attempted to analyze the impact of this gender wage inequality on the economic growth rate of the relevant countries. However, despite the immense socio-economic significance of this topic, the number of such studies analyzing the gender wage gap specifically in the context of Pakistan remains very limited. This paper looks to address this lack of research regarding the gender wage gap in Pakistan. The paper uses labor force and economic growth statistics of Pakistan from a number of secondary data sources including the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey and the Pakistan Labor Force Survey, as well as other external sources of data. Econometric techniques such as the Mincerian earnings function and the Blinder Oaxaca decomposition technique are then employed to analyze the extent of and recent trends in the gender wage differential in Pakistan over the past few years, and its links to discrimination by gender in the labor market. A further econometric analysis is then carried out to estimate the linkages between this gender wage differential and Pakistan’s rate of economic growth over the past few years.

Fear, Mobility and Empowerment

Barriers to the Political Empowerment of Women in Lower Dir, KPK

Asif Khan
University of Malakand

Women’s political participation in Malakand Division in general and Dir Lower in particular confronts a number of social, cultural, economic, political and religious barriers which hinder their empowerment. This study investigates various barriers to the political empowerment of women in Dir Lower. Main aim of the research work is to identify the various social, economic, political, religious and cultural factors and barriers which deprive women from participation in the political activities. The study has been conducted in four tehsils i.e. Balambat, Timargara, Khall and Maidan of District Dir Lower in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Data for the study was obtained through semi structured interviews and focused group discussions with political leaders, elected representatives, female councilors, village elders, male and female students and female folk of the area. The data reveals that there exist various barriers in the form of patriarchy, orthodox attitudes of the people, talibanization, lack of education, misinterpretation and wrong practice of Pakhtunwali and Seclusion (Purdah) etc. towards the political participation and political empowerment of women.

An Assessment of Migration and its Effects on Women in Lower Dir, KPK

Mohsin Ullah, Mussawar Shah, Aziz ul Hakim, Sajid Ali and Muhammad Tariq
University of Agriculture, Peshawar

The study titled an assessment of migration and its impacts on left behind wives was conducted by collecting data from 169 respondents (left behind wives) on snow ball sampling technique, from three villages of Lower Dir, KP. The study produced by taking into operation a Conceptual framework comprising independent variable namely Psychological aspects along with Social status of migrants wives as dependent variable. Uni-variate analyses were carried out to display layout of the data. At bi-variate level, the independent variable was cross tabulated through chi-square test statistics. The results shared that majority of the respondents had reproducing age ranging from 30 to 39 years, belonged to joint families, and illiterate with some had M.A level qualification as exceptional cases. In addition, the respondents had 5 to 6 children’s school going as well. The study further explored that a significant association (P< 0.05) between wives either had extreme stress in the absence of husband, feeling angry, insecure, nervous, low protection, and stress of burden, lacking partner affection and visiting psychiatrists for treatment with social status of migrant wives. The study conducted that left behind wives had psychological disorders in absence of their husbands, the women had complete liberty of their movement and remittances, management, albeit- their husband consents. Frequent visits of husband back homes, taking women along themselves, and provision of jobs, to mitigate the out flow of human to other countries were forwarded some of the recommendation in light of this study.

Aporia: The Feminist Method

Afrasiyab Khan
Quaid-i-Azam University

Islamabad Is there such a thing as a ‘feminist method’? Is there a ‘science’ to feminist knowledge acquisition and production? If such a thing exists what are its parameters? Can feminist research ever be ‘scientific’ in the common sense of the word, and if not, how does it justify its presence? These are questions that have dogged feminist research for decades now and while answers have been given there is yet no broad consensus. A reason behind this would probably be the contention over the definition of feminism itself. While this state of flux might give feminism its vibrancy it not only causes splintering into tiny groups each one proclaiming itself to be correct but also a lack of clarity against what is generally a very unified and coherent opposition. This paper doesn’t make the claim of having discovered or better yet invented the authentic feminist method but rather of trying to show the constitutive elements of what said method would or should look like. According to Doucet and Mauthner ‘feminist scholars have embraced particular characteristics in their work’ (2006, p. 40) and these characteristics collectively make up the method. It’ll also address the nature of ‘facts’ as well as the problem with the ‘noble dream’ of objectivity. Feminist research has been very loosely defined as research done by feminists. I want to show that in fact it is the methodology with which the research becomes feminist.

It's Her Fault: Gendered Mobility, Space and Risk at the University of Karachi

Humna Farooqi and Komal Hajani
Institute of Business Administration

This paper is an ethnographic investigation of the mobility of young women and their perception of risk in the gendered landscape of the University of Karachi. We posit that the women face variegated forms of immobility and determine their subjectivity and agency vis-à-vis the landscapes of fear that they navigate. Our primary subjects are 25 female students within five different departments of the university. Our data has also been derived from interviews with 25 male students, 10 professors and 15 members of the staff. We posit that fears of risk are temporally and spatially determined, and that women’s mental maps of risk are transposed on to real spaces, all of which are determined by gendered subjectivities. These cognitive cartographic practices create, as we discovered, “invisible prisons”. Women’s narratives of risk negotiation revealed that existent safety structures provide conditional protection based on conformism towards norms of sexual virtue and are predicated upon the restriction of women’s access to public space. Spatial contestations between informal patriarchal safety structures and a formal, central authority create a fraught landscape where women must rely upon male companionship and protectionism in order to gain conditional access to space. Normative methods of self-policing and regulation arise, built along patriarchal conventions, and lead to avoidance strategies and coping mechanisms as methods to gain access to space. Through the testimonies, we found that variegated levels of agential practices exist as subjects impose their own meanings onto the terrain. Through our investigation of gendered negotiations of spatial risk, we discovered that notions of security are impossible to disentangle from those concerning vulnerability and fear. We propose that the institutional structures in place for security exacerbate students’ insecurity, and in particular women’s insecurity.

Gendered Bodies and Affect

Politics of the Governance of Womens’ Bodies

Bia Alina
Institute of Business Administration

Institute of Business Administration Gendered spaces govern women’s bodies and become disciplining institutions where multiple agents form a power nexus that control how women carry themselves in their everyday lives. Households are an example of such a space where such dichotomies have manifested themselves into the very structural framework. The purpose of this project is to explain: What are the politics behind the governance of women’s bodies within urban households of Karachi? The focus shall be on women belonging to a particular social milieu and on their relationship with ascribed patriarchal norms. The research identifies the politics that govern these structural processes delving the concepts of choice and identity of these women. It aims to speculate how women bargain with patriarchy through compliance and resistance. Lastly, it assesses how women become the perpetuators as well as the victims of this power nexus. I have selected Karachi, urbanism and women as my areas of interest and the main research themes for my research are gender roles, governance, sexism, private sphere, agency, and patriarchy. The methodology for this research shall be an ethnographic research that shall be carried out via participant observation as well as one-on-one interviews with three women belonging to the upper/middle-class urban households of Karachi. The women have been selected via subjective sampling: where they fall into the 21-45 age bracket and each woman is representative of a distinctive status within her household.

Physically Impaired Women and the Issue of Marriage in Pakistan

Roheena Ali Shah
QAU, Islamabad

In Pakistan the male predominates in every sphere of life. The women face widespread discrimination on the basis of her gender. The presence of disability in women multiplies the existing discrimination. The identity that is constructed on the basis of the physical impairment of the women intersects with the identity of the gender which promotes the discrimination against them. The intersection of these identities excludes the physically impaired women in various social interactions. They are denied to access the education, employment, heath, and the marriage. They are considered as unmarriageable because of their inability to perform the gender associated roles. The identity constructed on the basis of impairment predominate the identity constructed on the basis of gender when it comes to the question of the marriage of the physically impaired women. In rare cases, when the physically impaired women are considered for marriage the identity constructed on the gender of the physically impaired woman predominates. The marriage of the physically impaired women does not last longer, and in most instances they are divorced. When the physically impaired women are divorced the identity constructed on the basis of physical impairment predominates again. This paper will discuss the questions: what are the prevalent discourses in society about physically impaired women? How these discourses are affecting the lives of physical impaired women in relation to marriage? It is argued in this paper that, the prevailing discourses in the society about the physically impaired women results in their discrimination regarding the issue of marriage.

Navigating Loss: Death and Digital Possibilities of Women’s Grief Memoirs

Saman Tariq Malik
Lahore University of Management Sciences

How do online spaces enable women to mourn the death of loved ones? How do they bring together women sharing similar losses? Death has never been more public than in the age of the internet. The digital space has transformed expressions of grief and the manner in which the dead are commemorated. To a generation in Pakistan for whom death and grief are increasingly public spectacles it makes sense to understand how online mechanisms allow women to navigate through loss. This paper examines how women in Pakistan use Facebook pages to construct solidarity and maintain networks of mutual aftercare in the wake of death. I examine the Facebook page of “The Grief Directory” where a community of women comes together to convey their loss through the sharing of personal notes. Looking at the gendered dimension of death, trauma and grief in digital cultures, I think about the ethical possibilities of reading such writings, given the intimate use of language to convey personal experience. I argue for the need to interpret these narratives as online grief memoirs. I suggest that thinking about the autobiographical and testimonial nature of these writings is one way to understand how women’s grief is transformed in the digital space. This paper is the culmination of my journey reading through such online self-writings by women regarding their changed lives.

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