Women & Children

Securing Equal Opportunities for Working Women in Pakistan

There is a broad consensus that only a country can progress with the full participation of women in public life.

The UNDP emphasizes the stark “inside/outside” division in Pakistan, as women are confined to the “inside” area of the house. Pakistan is near the bottom in terms of women’s labor force participation. This lack of involvement is at the crux of many of Pakistan’s demographic and economic challenges, with a women’s participation rate of 20%, which is among the lowest in South Asia and the world. A lack of education, obstacles to mobility, and gender stereotypes prevent women from joining and remaining in the official workforce.

Women make up 49.6 percent of the global population but only 40.8 percent of the total employment in the official sector. Studies indicate that providing particular comforts, such as employer-provided transportation, separate restrooms for women, and daycare facilities, is crucial in encouraging women to enter the workforce.

Women get paid less than men for performing the same job as men. They are neither appreciated nor helped. There is a critical need not only for legislation to remove barriers to women’s participation in business but also for society to modify its mindset. Differences in how men and women are handled under the law may explain some of this disparity. In Pakistan, this disparity is enormous. Only slightly more than 20% of working-age women are economically independent.

Experts condemn that permanent contracts, safe work settings, and the right to association are often denied to women in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan has no laws or constitutional provisions demanding equal compensation for the same work. While the law guarantees equal credit facilities for both genders, women are frequently denied credit. Pakistani businesswomen continue to lament their difficulties. Consider the domestic and other responsibilities that take up a lot of their time and energy and make it hard for women to run a business as well as men. There ought to be more women CEOs than there ought to be. In the past, even highly educated businesswomen were discouraged from running for essential positions in business associations. In addition, women workers with minor children are not entitled to a flexible or part-time work schedule. Even childcare payments made by working mothers are not tax-free.

During consultations with experts on gender and social inclusion in Pakistan, the need for improved constitutional protection for female employees to maximize access to basic facilities in the formal sector was identified as a significant obstacle.

The legislation is a critical first step toward assisting women workers. Measuring how laws and organizations discriminate against men and women in ways that impair women’s motivations or abilities to work or set up and operate a business lays the groundwork for regulatory change. 

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