LAHORE: Despite the progressive change of the mindsets in different sects of the society, women remain the underrepresented segment of the society, often referred to as minority pertaining to varied work sectors and fields. The female literacy rate in Pakistan was 45 per cent as of 2016, which defines the lack of women participation and contribution in economic activity. Looking at different work fields where women potential could make strides, the political realm is dominated by hereditary male politicians coming from families known to have ruled the country for decades.
In the field of science and technology, women enrollment is usually restricted by societal stereotypes of they being a less feminine and male dominated work field. In many cases, women from lower-middle working class are bound to opt for academic discipline like home economics, or diploma courses relevant to basic household chores like sewing or cooking. Along with the wage gap that illustrates the pay disparity between men and women delivering the same tasks, economic activity done from homes mostly goes unreported in official statistics.
Although due to cultural progression more women can be seen engaged in some form of economic or academic activity, the government’s policies are least conducive to women’s progress and empowerment. Further, the policies implemented by previous governments are usually not carried forward due to varying political ideologies of succeeding governments. Budget allocation for education is already minimal and on top of that the least of it is allocated for women education and development. Much more needs to be done to reap the benefits of women participation in the workforce.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2017.