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Employment situation of women in Pakistan

Mahpara Begum Sadaquat (Karachi University, Karachi, Pakistan)
Qurra‐tul‐ain Ali Sheikh (Karachi University, Karachi, Pakistan)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 11 January 2011




This paper is an attempt to analyze the study of low female work participation rate in Pakistan due to the religious, traditional, cultural values, the colonial ideology and the evolution of social institution that restrain women entry into the labour market.


In order to explore the objectives, the paper develops the classification of male and female age groups into three main categories, and analyze with the help of descriptive and mean methodology.


The findings of this paper show that the women are suffering from market discrimination and hence are pushed to separate low‐paid and low‐status jobs. Majority of women are employed in the unorganized sectors. Mostly, women are concentrated in sector known for low level of productivity, less income stability and low security of employment due to their dual role at home and workplace. Organized services sector is mostly government services, and provides employment to a small proportion of women. The rate of unemployment among women is consistently higher than that of men, both in rural and urban areas.

Research limitations/implications

The statistics are reflective of two hard‐core realities. The first factor is that women with no education or with some basic education are allowed to work due to intensive poverty and high rate of inflation; and the second factor is that the existing socio‐cultural norms continues to strengthen gender discrimination and are a source of a massive wastage of the human capital available in the country.

Practical implications

An analysis of structure of women employment reveals some qualitative improvement in the employment, due to high literacy rate and educational levels.

Social implications

Increasing levels of female labour force participation rate is a poverty‐induced phenomenon; a larger part is to be traced by improvement in literacy and education levels of women. There is some qualitative improvement in the employment, as women's share in secure and better paid jobs in the organized sector appears to be higher. With the increase in educational levels of women, faster growth of women's employment is observed in modern sectors and white‐collar jobs. Government machinery, non‐governmental organizations and progressive political parties should focus on the education of women if they want to enhance the status of women in Pakistan by implementing special schemes and programmes for absorbing them into different occupations, particularly in organized sector so as to improve their structures of employment as well as status of jobs.


Classification of male and female age groups is done into three main categories, i.e. age ten to 14, 25‐29 and 55‐59 for young, adult and old groups, respectively. This paper provides the clear picture of women problems and causes.



Begum Sadaquat, M. and Sheikh, Q.A. (2011), "Employment situation of women in Pakistan", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 98-113.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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