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Social Status of Rural and Urban Working Women in Pakistan

von Prof. Dr. Amber Ferdoos

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[1.] Af/Fragment 092 07 - Diskussion
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Af, Alavi 1991, Fragment, Gesichtet, SMWFragment, Schutzlevel sysop, Verschleierung

Typus
Verschleierung
Bearbeiter
Graf Isolan
Gesichtet
Yes
Untersuchte Arbeit:
Seite: 92, Zeilen: 7-36
Quelle: Alavi 1991
Seite(n): 1 (Internetversion), Zeilen: -
7.4 Position of working women in the society

It is a fact that in both rural as well as the urban society, Pakistan remains a rigidly patriarchal society in which women are treated as slaves to spend their lives in the service of a male dominated social system. It is not only a single patriarch, the head of a nuclear family, but the whole male dominated kinship organisation which has a stake in the subordination of women. No woman, even one with an independent career in a city can set up a home on her own, without the ‘saya’ (lit: shade or protection) of a male. A divorced woman or a widow must turn to her father or brother, if they will have her unless she has a grown up son under whose protection she can live. This is a powerful factor of control over women.

In the case of lower middle class families we can identify a two-fold division. On the one hand there are families whose women are educated, sufficiently at least to hold down a ‘respectable’ job. On the other hand there are more traditional families whose women have not received a good education who therefore do not qualify for ‘respectable’ salaried jobs. In these latter cases women contribute to the family economy by taking in home-based work under a putting out system operated by entrepreneurs who are only too happy to exploit this extremely cheap source of labour.

The continuous inflation in the cost of living in Pakistan over the decades has brought about a situation where a man’s wage is no longer sufficient to keep the family. There was therefore a continuous pressure to broaden the base of the family economy. Gradually and steadily, more and more women were forced to find jobs to supplement family incomes. The change is visible and quite striking. Initially only a few occupations were thought to be respectable enough for such women. As the pressure for jobs increased the concept of a 'respectable job' was progressively broadened to take in a wider range of jobs (see also part 6.1). Today one finds women in a wide range of occupations, including laboratory assistants or ticket clerks at railway stations or clerks at post office counters and so on, as well as lawyers, architects, engineers, journalists and broadcasters as discussed earlier. Needless to add, the numbers in the latter categories of occupations are extremely small. With more and more women taking up salaried jobs and in keeping with an increasing number of women taking to higher education, new values have emerged. Women now desire jobs and careers for their own sake so that an in[creasing number of wives of well heeled professionals and women from the upper classes take jobs not out of economic necessity but for self-fulfilment.]

It must be kept in mind, however, that everywhere, in both the rural as well as the urban society, Pakistan remains a rigidly patriarchal society in which women are treated as chattel, 'given' or 'acquired' through arranged marriages, to spend their lives in the service of a male dominated social system. [...] It is not only a single patriarch, the head of a nuclear family, but the whole male dominated kinship organisation which has a stake in the subordination of women. (for an account of biraderi organisation cf.Alavi, 1972). No woman, even one with an independent career in a city can set up a home on her own, without the 'saya' (lit: shade or protection) of a male. A divorced woman or a widow must turn to her father or brother, if they will have her. unless she has a grown up son under whose protection she can live. This is a powerful factor of control over women. [...]

[...]

In the case of lower middle class families we can identify a two-fold division. On the one hand there are families whose women are educated, sufficiently at least to hold down a 'respectable' job. On the other hand there are more traditional families whose women have not received a good education who therefore do not qualify for 'respectable' salaried jobs. In these latter cases women contribute to the family economy by taking in home-based work under a putting out system operated by entrepreneurs who are only too happy to exploit this extremely cheap source of labour. [...]

[...]

The continuous inflation in the cost of living in Pakistan over the decades has brought about a situation where a man's wage is no longer sufficient to keep the family. There was therefore a continuous pressure to broaden the base of the family economy. Gradually and steadily, more and more women were forced to find jobs to supplement family incomes. The change is visible and quite striking. Initially only a few occupations were thought to be respectable enough for such women. As the pressure for jobs increased the concept of a 'respectable job' was progressively broadened to take in a wider range of jobs. [...] Today one finds women in a wide range of occupations, including laboratory assistants or ticket clerks at railway stations or clerks at post office counters and so on, as well as lawyers, architects, engineers, journalists and broadcasters. Needless to add, the numbers in the latter categories of occupations are extremely small. With more and more women taking up salaried jobs and in keeping with an increasing number of women taking to higher education, new values have emerged. Women now desire jobs and careers for their own sake so that an increasing number of wives of well heeled professionals and women from the upper classes take jobs not out of economic necessity but for self-fulfilment.


Alavi, Hamza, 1972: Kinship in West Punjab Villages', Contributions to Indian Sociology, New Series. Vol. VI (for a fuller account see Hamza Alavi, 'The Two Biraderis- Kinship in Rural Punjab' in T. N. Madan (ed) Muslim Societies in South Asia, 2nd edition, New Delhi 1995)

Anmerkungen

No source given. Nothing has been marked as a citation.

The reference to Alavi (1972) has also been deleted (for obvious reasons).

Sichter
(Graf Isolan), SleepyHollow02


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