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A multi‐level perspective on equal employment opportunity for women in Pakistan

Faiza Ali (University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 22 March 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

Informed by a relational theorisation of equal opportunity, this paper seeks to focus on multi‐level experiences and observations of women working in Pakistan's formal employment sector considering issues and challenges facing them at three levels of analysis, i.e. macro‐societal, meso‐organisational and micro‐individual.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on in‐depth qualitative interviews with 30 working women in Lahore, the paper examines multi‐level issues of women working in Pakistani organisations.

Findings

The study reveals that focusing exclusively on organisations and holding them solely accountable for equal opportunity may be inadequate as organisational structures and routines of equal opportunity are affected by both macro‐societal factors (e.g. legal, socio‐cultural) and micro‐individual factors (e.g. intersectionality, agency). In particular, the study highlights unique socio‐cultural and structural challenges facing working women in Pakistan and the ways in which these women are able to negotiate and overcome some of these challenges.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on six Pakistani organisations located in Lahore, Punjab, and may not be generalized to represent issues and challenges of equal opportunity in other provinces of Pakistan.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that employers may pay special attention to socio‐cultural issues facing women to promote gender equality at the workplace.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the equal employment opportunity literature by exploring gender equality issues in a Muslim majority country's context.

Keywords

Citation

Ali, F. (2013), "A multi‐level perspective on equal employment opportunity for women in Pakistan", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 289-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-12-2012-0110

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited