2.1       Empowerment issues

 

Of the entire population in the district, the women were found
to be 47% and all on them depended on male citizens for their living. The survey
carried out by MICS (2010) stated that the ratio of girls to boys is in an
imbalanced state; for example, if men are 40% then the women could be 20% of
the population. Major of them are illiterate due to several reasons namely religion,
society, male domination etc. Poverty was found to be one of the major reasons
for illiteracy in Mastung district. The district also had poor health situation
since the absence of abundant doctors there and this led to having less
attention towards the common checkups in hospitals and lack of professional delivery
assistance. The major issues faced by women there are that due to illiteracy,
females are not aware of their owned rights and this has increased the
dominance of men over them. There are no female doctors in the wards and
hospitals, especially in the maternity ward for helping the pregnant women out.
Many other issues include illiteracy, gender inequality, unpaid wages, employment
ignorance, state representation and much more. (District profile 2011)

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It’s because of the interpretation of the existing content, the
complexity of empowerment of women has been acknowledged by many scientists and
social workers all around the world. If we consider an instance on this matter
we will see the study done on about five Asian countries that mostly reported
the influence on gender due to social values and norms due to rising
inequality. The findings done by researchers indicated that the concept of
women empowerment is much complex since there can be some areas where they are
not empowered; while in some, they have their right of empowerment (2003). The
values presented by society matters a lot while talking about women empowerment
and to achieve the desired change in the society, the ground of empowerment
should be thoroughly solid.

 

Another study suggested that it’s the word ‘power’ which can
act as an influential aspect to bring this change (2010). Furthermore, some
social workers reportedly suggested that the effects of religion on Pakistan
changed drastically being an identity to dictating the entire lives of the
civilians. That means religion used to be simply a choice and everyone would
follow with pure heart but presently, it has been controlling the lives of
people around Pakistan (2009). Many other people such as Shaheed also believe
that religion and Politics are the primary reasons of women disempowerment in
the country and all around the world.

 

Illiteracy is also one of the reasons of the women
disempowerment that has been seen over the years in the world. The world
literacy rates survey taken by SDPI shows the literacy rates of men as 67% and
women as 48% in Punjab alone. Both the rates declined to 58% and 22% in Baluchistan.
In Mastung District, there are many women that are not allowed to participate
in outside world and thus, they are left immobile. They don’t even have the
permission of accessing outside market for daily needs. Even though, they have
skills such as embroidery, due to lack of direct interaction with customers
they get fewer wages over their skillfully made materials. Their male family
members come forward and sell the products made by females being less expertized
and having no motivation for work.

 

For the achievement of women empowerment, it became mandatory
to include the human rights and the world economic forum decided to work on
this aspect of reality. Since few years, they have had repeatedly tried to
increase awareness of the need of women empowerment and the positive change it
will bring within the society in Pakistan. It would at least take increased
economic and social gender equality, equal human rights to males and females, improved
health and nutrition and good education (Zahidi 2005). There are many other
social firms such as UNIFEM that designed seven stages of achieving the goal of
women empowerment in a country. It started from promoting women in leadership
level, non-discrimination, giving proper education and employment training to
women, taking care of their security, gender equality, transparency, other
developmental aspects such as food and marketing.

 

It true that power comes along with empowerment but it is also
one of the complex concepts that make the women empowerment quite difficult. It
has relatively varied articulations for completely different individuals of the
country (Zulfiqar 2010). Empowerment for an individual comes in the list of impossible
things especially those that have to do with the mind-state unless we keep
finding solution at an external manner. It has been seen in history many times
that many females react differently to the similar issue irrespective of
religion and culture. Even if they have same culture and social status, their multiple
reactions to the same issue shows their varied level of perception for the
worldly things. Many females have the surrendered perception towards the values
declared by society while others stand up against them and try to dominate the
ethics and values. But at some point, it becomes mandatory to have external
factors for the growth of inner power for the achievement of women empowerment.

 

Being abstract, the word empowerment brings upon various
complication issues related to measurement. It never shows the wholesome
picture that is required for personal and social growth of women. But for the
broader worldview, it is mandatory to have a measurement map of empowerment
where the position of women in the world will be known. It has been a
historical phenomenon of development of several methodologies to measure the
empowerment in various ways. The certain tool that is widely used is (GGI)
Gender Gap Index since it works in such a way that four sections such as
health, political, educational and economic growth are covered.

 

Empowerment should be shaping the lives of mere people along
with becoming an aspect to impact the decisions of day to day life. Two other
measuring methods should be considered for empowerment issue such as (GEM) Gender
empowerment measure and (GDI) Gender-related development index which primarily
focuses for highlighting the current status in the country. GDI, however, is
used to have the measurement of certain areas of empowerment such as education,
income, or age, whereas the other one focuses more on political and economic
side of reality for the empowerment issue.

 

Another measurement report in 2010 stated that three should be
fixed three dimensions of measuring the inequality between men and women such
as labor-ship, empowerment and reproduction. It was done by using another
measuring index known as Gender inequality index. The GII focuses on the
sufferings faced by females in the country in various walks of their lives. These
factors can provide some basic information over the complexity of empowerment
but it fails to describe the daily problems and issues faced by women with
respect to empowerment.

 

Boender and Schuler (2003) suggested different perspective
towards the measurement of empowering issue presenting the newest six
dimensions such as cultural, legal, economic, personal, psychological and political
aspects of their lives. But later it was found that the practical application
of this process is more complex than previously done. The dimensions are
connected with each other and identifying their relationship is a disastrous
work. Nosheen and Chaudhary (2009) noted the same in their study and argued
about the unanswered questions regarding women empowerment issues. The measurement
issue is subtle in its form and should be clearly researched. It is not done
so, as noted by the researchers, it becomes difficult to determine the exact
specifications of the context of empowerment.

 

To conclude, since there are various aspects of empowerment and
it differentiates in culture and region the measurement issue should vary too. Other
aspects of life that matters in measuring this issue are married life, economy,
bank account, finances, joint family and caste or religion. But due to daunting
number of empowerment determinants it becomes impossible to capture the full
detailed analysis of the issue.

 

2.2 Empowerment in economy

 

There have had been multiple micro programs in past few years that
were developed for the possibility of progress in this context. These programs
were especially famous among social workers, governmental organizations, and other
donors. They specifically targeted women having less wage and power, no labor,
less credit to give them equal opportunity of development in the economic
field. Women’s economic development has been a topic of discussion since
various decades and this led to the change in country policy. Their current
focus is to give them credited system of economic freedom rather than financial
help since the former helps the women to become independent by being linked
with the banking field. This marks their expectations of development in the
areas of inequality.

 

This credit system has been the topic of discussion for
everyone around the nation. Various firms and organizations tried to have a specific
model that should be as good as banks from other countries that has credit
system successfully established for poor citizens. The micro-credit system can
be said as firmly developing methodology that has given its cooperation towards
the economic growth. This has made women feel empowered and it gave them the
productive role they desired to have in the society. This happened due to the
establishment of credit program that mostly focused on the measurement of
success to see the number of credit being delivered to the women and the level
of repayment to provide better facilities.

 

According to one published study, among all the small kids
ranging from 6 to 10, about 40% girls and 30% boys do not go to school. And the
ratings become worst as the age goes higher. Now it indicates that since
education system is not up to the mark in Pakistan, especially in rural areas,
employment is also degrading in its way. Even if the women are given the
opportunity for employment, they are being kept underutilized and the major
focus is usually given to male employees. The number of women receiving actual
training is considerably lower, about 11%, than the rates of males. Among 15 to
64 aged women groups, the rates of females decreased to only 26% of having
labor job. Even after this, the number employed women remains 12% of the entire
population in urban areas.

 

Among women graduates, about 30% of them earned less wage
whereas, only 10% of graduates among men earn the wages similar to these
females. Females usually working for some relatives or her family member are
usually left unpaid. There are about 60% women who are unpaid workers and works
full day as a regular employee. Another problem that was seen in the economic
sector of Pakistan was the gap of gender wage. Women who have high education,
such as engineers, earn almost similar to that of men. But the level of
earnings decreases for women as the level of post comes down. For example, a
primary school teacher in Mastung district earns the wage of 43% while the male
teachers have 60% earnings in their respective hands.

 

The women being below poverty line are sometimes unable to have
saved funds for better future and established empowerment. The more women work
in such a condition, the less number of possibilities are there for them to
come out of poverty. Among the households, about 21% of them and about 27%
women in total are below poverty line.

 

This had been the primary reason for the credit system that was
brought in by several government or private firms. Micro-crediting system has
been an important part of the empowerment system in the entire Pakistan. Even financial
firms have also started this crediting system for then growth of women and
their empowerment. They targeted women living in poverty as well as below poverty
levels and provided them facilities for improving their standard of living. This
shows the positive aspect of crediting system and its effects on women empowerment
system. A study (2001) shows that this crediting system plays a vital role in
improving the level of poor and below poverty level women and provided them
stability in life.

 

Since the positive effects of crediting system had been noticed
by many people, some researchers also did several studies over the decided
subject. They needed to see the relation and effects of both on the social and
economic level of reality. Malik (2005) and his team researched thoroughly on the
subject matter and found out that this crediting processes had indeed shown
better results in the past, but still it failed to provide the overall
solution. The empowerment in women occurred at some level due to its complete uniqueness
but some women even had to face negative impacts of the entire crediting
system. Another social worker concluded that woman who took loans don’t have
full control over money. Rather they would sometimes give the control to the
male members for their family.

 

Other kind of system that researchers came up with was
microfinance. It is especially for people earning low or no income to start a
small business and usually banking system is involved it in. it was thought
that this system was better for development of equal rights of gender since it
provided females to have self-employment and have power over money. In many
other countries, this system had been a key aspect of helping poor people out. Multiple
banks have already brought it in and helped the country to bring poverty above
the heads of water.

 

Pakistan too has been trying to bring in certain aspect of
service between female individuals to provide them helping hand for improving
their condition in life. It was initially difficult to do so, but few non-governmental
firms and state bank of Pakistan also provided such services to the public at
large. They all have women with poor background as their primary focus with an
objective to improve their financial as well as social condition. The main
purpose was to have an established role of women in decision making in their
families and having increased social level in the society (Rehman 2007). Some social
workers even declared that the microfinance can be a required solution for the
benefit of women in the nation.

 

Several studies were made to see the connection between
microfinance and women empowerment and the claim that was made that it has
positive effects on women. One of these studies states that the impact seemed
to have positive effects on the empowerment of women and they successfully
achieved economic growth.

 

3.1 The study area selection criteria

 

Mastung district has ranked 13th in the entire
Balochistan with respect to the enlarged area, which is 5,896 SQ KM. there have
been major divisions of society: Khan, Brahui and Dehwar. Among these groups,
Mastung has about 80% population of Brahui alone. There are many sub tribes of
Brahui namely, Shahwani, Sarpara, Raisani, Kurd, Lango, Mahammad Sahi, Lehri
and many more. The tribes that reside in Mastung have farming or agriculture as
their primary occupational duty for earning money. People living in this district
usually settle for having two meals per day but this was found to be the system
of rural areas. Majority of urban population settle for breakfast, lunch and
dinner. It a usual routine to have women at home and men at work in many houses
in Mastung district. The decision making in most of the joint families of
Mastung is in the hands of senior male member and women are always dominated under
them. Women don’t have the freedom to select their own husbands with respect to
marriage; it usually is either their fathers or brothers who take care of this.

 

Being a tribal society, mostly men are in the highest political
position in Mastung. Social power is always in the hands of men in Mastung and
females are usually seen as a domestic person. Women usually take care of children,
clothes, field, and livestock and also do the household chores; the literacy
rate of the women in Mastung is currently (2011) 27.9%. The social status of
women is usually determined by the level of status achieved by their husbands. Suppose
if the husband is the Nawab of the town, his wife will be greatly respected
around the place whereas the wife of a laborer will be neglected. The main
reason for is seemed to be the tribal system that was found to have a deep root
in their family traditions.

 

The male population was found to be 58% in the year 1961. In
the year 1981 the male population was 51%, in the year 1998 it was 53% and
finally in 2010, it became 53% of the entire population. Women’s population varied
in various levels every decade. In the year 1961, it was 43% of the entire
population whereas it increased to 57% in the year 1981. Due to some reasons,
it again dropped to 47% in 2010. That means by 2010, the male population was
found to be 102 thousand and females were 90 thousand of the entire population.

 

One survey taken in 1998c stated that among all houses in Mastung,
about 11% of the residents lived in a rent free house, 2% were giving rents and
about 86% of the total had owned houses. But ever since the separation happened,
the demands for residential houses and rent houses drastically increased in doubled
rates.

 

Research design.

 

The data has to be collected and have to have a proper analysis
for achieving the goal of research design. This research is done to have a
realistic approach towards the specific topic of the field. The primary phase
of the current topic was done in order to find the research questions and the
first phase was known as desk study while the second approach was the case
study. In the first phase, they collected information regarding the subject
through various methods such as internet search, books, people etc. in the
second phase they collected the information and other important data while
doing the field analysis.