Rethinking of women empowerment in Pakistan; Dimensions and Trends related to female in District Rawalpindi.

Byline: Munazza Mubarak, Abdul Majid Khan Rana, Muhammad Mumtaz Ali Khan, Abdul Basit Mujahid and Muhammad Iqbal Chawla


Empowerment means having and taking more control over all aspects of one's life. Empowerment is building confidence, insight, understanding and developing personal skills to being able to analyze situations and communicate more effectively with others (Young: 1993:4). The concept of women empowerment embodies political legal and socio-economic rights. These rights enable women to shape up their lives in a way whereby they possess the legitimate rights of preserving life,set and achieve their goals by devising an immaculate planning and sense of organization.They can make demands to the state for support and to society itself for change. Empowering women means to participate fully in all sectors of life, to build stronger economies to achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability, and to improve the quality of life for women.(Pallas:2011:274). Women can be empowered economically if they are provided their familial inherited share.

Since land is highly valued asset and inheritance is the tool through which women can get land. (RDI: 2009:9) By getting their familial inheritance share, they can improve their economic condition.(Agarwall:1999:260) In developed world women are, enjoying their rights.and they are empowered economically by providing them their familial inherited share. Exiting literature related to the topic shows that there is direct link between women inheritance rights and women economic empowerment. Since Inheritance is the basic right that cannot be denied in modern history. Women can be empowered socially and economically by getting not only the inherited share in form of property and land but also having full control over it so that she can use the income, generated through inherited property for welfare of her family. There is direct relationship between women empowerment and development of society.

Only empowered women can play a vital role in community development and development related problems have direct links with women lack of property and their inheritance right. (RDI; 2008; 45). Globally women inheritance rights and entitlements claimed for women in many societies worldwide. In some parts of the world community, these rights are institutionalized and supported by law, customs, culture and behaviors while in other regions they may be ignored or suppressed. Women of developed world where they have been given opportunities of exercising their inheritance rights and having the legal support are becoming a vibrant part of sustainable development. The women of these societies have strong bargaining position to participate in their family decisions and have more autonomy within their marital family. (Agarwal; 1998; 27)

In south Asian region women get land through a vehicle known as Inheritance as concluded by (Agarwal: 1998, Satsangi: 2015 and RDI: 2009) in their research studies1. They have clearly mentioned that land which has become value able asset due commercialization and women can improve their economic and social status if they would be empowered by getting their inheritance share inform of immovable property i.e. land. World Bank(UNCH:1991;1) has mentioned in one of its reports that "Women entitlements in using and managing land and other possessions are powerful tools paving way to women's well-being and empowerment specially in least developed nations. Agarwal has clearly identified that women land rights are inter-related with welfare, efficiency, equality and empowerment. Women ownership of land is linked with their increased bargaining position within household and at the community level;.Ownership of land increases the fallback position both at household level and at community level.

Entitling women with land not only empower them economically but also strengthen their ability to challenge social, cultural and, political inequalities. These rights have the effects on marital relations and enhance women's freedom to achieve in non-economic spheres. Women having land titles are not powerless, vulnerable and victims of domestic violence. (Agarwal: 1998:39) Pallas (2010:273) has identified that land and other natural resources are contingent to the process of empowerment. Access to land is basis for sustainable development. It is a symbol of identity, dignity and social inclusion of poor and vulnerable groups. It affects the status of women at house hold and at community level.CEF (community empowerment facility) through ILC(international land Coalition) has clearly identified that right to land and women empowerment are interrelated and twisted together2.

The societies where women are empowered through land rights, they are confident and having strength to raise their voices against inequalities, as Alaka and Chetna (1987:25) has described the same situation in one of their work." We had tongues but could not speak. We had feet but could not walk. Now we have the land we have the strength to speak and walk."

  1. Methodology

    This article is based on PhD research study. The research study is descriptive in nature. Qualitative method is used for data collection. The study is based on loose structured interviews. Purposive sampling method is used for data collection..15 gender and law experts were interviewed who were already identified. Experts were contacted personally at their workplace. The data collection procedure took three months to complete. Data was collected in the respondents' first language and later on, was translated into English. Interviews were audio recorded with the permission of respondents and further transcribed by researcher. The researcher analyzed the data by using the techniques of thematic analysis.

    The state of familial inheritance rights in the rural areas of the region is not encouraging, yet urban areas of the region presents slightly a better picture It is observed that women inheritance rights are encircled by patriarchal system, cultural practices and non implementation of laws due to lack of political will. Resultantly non-provision of right to land has affected their empowerment in the region.

    1. Patriarchal System and inheritance right of women

      The word Patriarchy means a form of social organization in which...

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