Dissertation Abstracts

Socio-Cultural Determinants of Women's Empowerment in Punjab, Pakistan

Author: Khan, Tariq Mah, pro_tariq@yahoo.com
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Maan
Year of completion: 2010
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Women , Empowerment , Determinant , Socio- Cultural
Areas of Research: Women in Society , Human Rights and Global Justice , Comparative Sociology


Pakistan is among the countries where gender discrimination is apparent in all fields of life. Women’s rights are violated and exploited. Moreover, women do not have their voice; even they are not given the right to decide about their life. It is common perception that nations cannot make remarkable progress in any fields of life if their women experience exploitation and discrimination. Therefore, it is necessary to empower women, to lift their status as well as the status of their family, community and nation. The main objectives of this study were to measure the empowerment level of women and to identify the socio-cultural factors that influence women’s empowerment especially in the domestic sphere. For this purpose, a sample of 550 married women of reproductive age (15-49) excluding widows and divorced women, were taken from two randomly selected districts (Faisalabad and Rawalpindi) of Punjab Province of Pakistan. Information regarding demography, household, locality and other socio-cultural variables was collected through a structured interview schedule. In order to understand the complexity of the phenomenon of women’s empowerment, key informant interviews were also conducted by using a semi-structured interview schedule. Different statistical tools i.e. mean, standard deviation, bar charts, t-distribution, chi square test for association, gamma statistic, Somer’s d statistic, correlation coefficient, one way analysis of variance technique, and multiple regression analysis, were employed to systematically present the information, and to develop the relationship among the various explanatory variables and dependent variable (women’s empowerment). In order to observe the causality of relationship between the variables, multiple linear regression model was developed. The univariate/descriptive analysis indicated that the majority of women lacked resources, their paid job involvement was negligible, they were less educated than their husbands, and had low level of awareness about their rights. Their political interest and group participation were not encouraging. They had less decision making ability, less control over resources, less mobility and lower level of participation in family discussions. In contrast, they had moderate level of social networking and felt that their husbands cooperated in daily affairs. The analysis based on key informant interviews revealed that the safe and secure future of women ensures their empowerment. Moreover the inference based on bivariate analysis indicated that the majority of variables included in the study were statistically associated with women’s empowerment. The regression analysis identified thirteen variables for their significant influence on women’s empowerment. These variables were: type of family; family headship; number of respondent’s brothers; observing veil; paid job involvement of respondents; awareness about their rights; social networking; husband’s cooperation; political participation; conjugal age; and respondent’s education showed highly significant influence on women empowerment with p < 0.001. This study also highlights the importance of active participation of government and non government agencies for mobilizing and organizing women groups, and thereby developing their awareness level, political interest, inherent skills and earning capabilities.