The Raising Her Voice Pakistan Programme | Pakistan

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 18
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Information Report
Category:

Documents

Published:

Views: 6 | Pages: 18

Extension: PDF | Download: 0

Share
Related documents
Description
Well known for its highly articulate and influential women, Pakistan is also notorious for the severe restrictions placed on women
Transcript
  OXFAM ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP CASE STUDY www.oxfam.org   THE RAISING HER VOICE PAKISTAN PROGRAMME By Duncan Green Before I joined the group I only knew about the boundaries of my house Multan, from evaluation interviews with Women Leader Group members Earlier we did not know the names of different Government Departments. Now we know about them. We did not know where to refer someone need help to. Now it is easy. Nowshera, from evaluation interviews with Women Leader Group members Well known for its highly articulate and influential women, Pakistan is also notorious for the severe restrictions placed on women’s personal and political liberties. The Raising Her Voice (RHV) programme started working on this very complex and sensitive issue by building a country-level partnership with the Aurat Foundation (AF), which for the past 26 years has promoted women’s empowerment and citizens’ participation in governance. Working together, the RHV programme and AF established 50 Women Leaders Groups (WLGs) in 30 districts across Pakistan, with a total membership of 1,500 women activists, living and working in their communities. The aims of the WLGs are: to promote activism within their communities; to defend and promote individual and collective women’s rights; to represent marginalized women; and to raise women’s collective voice at local and district levels, as well as, with AF’s support, at the provincial and national level.  2   BACKGROUND In Pakistan, opportunities for women are restricted by multiple barriers, including misinterpretations of Islam, patriarchal institutions of both formal and informal justice and governance, complex geo-politics, and a weak economy. With 180 million inhabitants, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It ranks 146th out of 187 countries on the UNDP 2014 Human Development Index 1  and has slipped from 112th on the Global Gender Gap Report in 2006, when the Report was started, to 135 out of 136 in 2013 (Yemen was number 135), although it fares considerably better (64 th  ) on political empowerment 2 . For many Pakistanis, the country’s economic downturn is their number one priority. With annual inflation running at 11 percent per year and economic growth averaging 2.9 percent over the past four years, Pakistan is falling behind its neighbours. 3  Although Pakistan was previously the second biggest exporter of textiles in the world and boasts a vibrant, innovative IT sector, its recent economic decline is reflected in its diminishing share of global trade. Disgruntled entrepreneurs point to political instability, insecurity and corruption and policy failures as the top three disincentives for doing business in Pakistan. Domestically, the country’s political leadership has seen a rising tide of dissatisfied entrepreneurs and workers. In addition, the country’s governance, economy and social fabric have had to endure a series of natural disasters. These include earthquakes in 2005 and 2008, a cyclone in 2007 and, most recently, devastating floods in 2010 and 2011, in which an estimated 20 million people were affected. Systemic corruption, see-sawing military coups, continuing states of emergency and power struggles between the military (which consumes 70 percent of Pakistan’s total budget) 3  and the judiciary have proved difficult soil for equitable and inclusive governance to put down roots. Gender rights Pakistan is a country where, in 1988, Benazir Bhutto became the first-ever woman prime minister of a Muslim country (although she was, of course, assassinated in 2007); where, in 2008, Dr. Fehmida Mirza became the first woman to be elected as speaker of a National  Assembly in the Muslim world; and where 2013 saw more than 100 women members enter both houses of parliament. Yet, Pakistan is also a country where political activist Zubaida Begum was killed because of her attempt to break anti-women traditions by participating in local elections and raising women’s awareness of their right to vote. Pakistani women are less likely to be educated, to own land or assets, to be political leaders, or to be safe in the home and workplace. They have fewer opportunities for paid employment and weaker access to justice, decent healthcare and education. They are frequently excluded from politics and decision-making.  3   Underpinning the lack of political voice of Pakistan’s women – and other marginal groups – are deep cultural and social norms, founded in a politicization of Islam and a misinterpretation of the Koran, as seen in Sharia law, which perpetuate discrimination against them. Cultural constraints restrict women’s mobility and, although they contribute the majority of unpaid household labour, as well as other forms of work, this is often unrecognized. There is a disconnect between constitutional rights and customary or Islamic laws, with the latter making it harder for women to own land, vote, travel or have equal access to justice. In the absence of a functional system of justice, women are often used as ‘compensation’ in grievance cases and have little redress as victims of violence. BUDGET DFID provided RHV Pakistan with £445,000 over five years (2008–2013). MONITORING, EVALUATION AND LEARNING This paper includes the results of the final project evaluation 4 , based on a desk review, primary data collection with 442 respondents (360 in a survey and the remainder in focus group discussions and key informant interviews), in addition to consultation with OGB and  AF staff and data analysis. The evaluation was carried out between February and April 2013. THEORY OF CHANGE RHV began with a power analysis, examining the nature and srcins of women’s exclusion and subordination. Women’s weak access to formal governance structures :   Although illegal, women are often prevented from voting, either through family pressure or signed agreements between contesting male candidates endorsed by religious leaders and traditional village committees.   Disenfranchisement: In 2012 it was reported that there were 11 million fewer women registered as voters than men on the electoral rolls. Women’s weak access to formal systems of justice:   Under the 1979 Hudood Ordinances, incorporated in the Pakistan Penal Code, most sexual assault victims are deemed guilty of illegal sex. The Pakistan National Commission on the Status of Women voted to repeal the Hudood Ordinances in 2005, but this has not yet happened.   Since the Protection of Women Act 2006, rape (zina bil jabr) is now a criminal rather than a religious offence, but remains subject to different evidentiary standards and  4   punishment. Under evidentiary law, a woman’s testimony is given half the weight of a man’s.   Under the laws of Qisas and Diyat  , the sentence for murder is lessened when the victim’s heir is a direct descendent of the accused, meaning that a husband guilty of murdering his wife is exempt from the maximum punishment if they have children.   Pakistan signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1996 with a key reservation ‘subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.’ Women’s weak access to informal governance:   Women, and other marginalized groups, are often excluded from informal (and yet powerful) traditional systems of governance.    Zakat (alms) committees often do not have the legal minimum requirement of one woman on the panel. Women’s weak access to informal systems of justice: The panchayats are dangerous because they are not accountable to anyone; therefore they have an unlimited power and can order the practice of torture and  physical abuse.  Rehman Rashin, representative for the Human Rights Commission in Multan, Southern Punjab.     Tribal leaders and elders sitting on panchayats,  jirgas  or hujra  (different forms of community decision-making bodies) act as arbitrators on a range of issues, from family disputes around land and property to water management. Women have no rights of representation or appeal.   Many panchayats are run by local elites, often feudal lords and landowners with high-level patronage. Violence against women and girls:   There are high levels of domestic violence, early forced marriage, acid attacks, kidnap, rape, murder, and honour killings. As many as 90 percent of women in Pakistan have experienced domestic violence at least once. 5  Pakistan is also notorious for the severe restrictions placed on women’s personal and political liberties – so-called ‘honour killings’ being the most extreme example.   Women are often the victims of traditional practices, such as the marrying of young women and girls to ‘buy’ reconciliation between parties.
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks