Muslims don’t give equal rights to women despite believing Islam gives equal rights to women: PDO Survey

Muslims don’t give equal rights to women despite believing Islam gives equal rights to women: PDO Survey | PakistanTribeISLAMABAD – Pattan Development Organization (PDO) while issuing findings of its baseline survey on gender disparity has said that Muslim men do not give equal rights to their women while they believes that Islam gives equal rights to women.

On Monday, on the occasion of ‘the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women’ Pattan Development Organization issued findings of its baseline survey on gender disparities. Almost 100 percent respondents of a baseline survey said that Muslim men don’t give equal rights to their women while they believed that Islam gives equal rights to the women.

More than 60 Percent female and 50 percent male respondents also agreed that men of their households use violent means against their women.

The baseline survey was conducted in 48 flood-affected locations of eight districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh during June-July 2013. In total 4,068 women and 3,964 men of 8,032 households were interviewed.

Along with this, through Participatory Rapid Appraisal gender disparities were measured in the locations. The following findings are part of a bigger study.

It is extremely sad that as many as 63% female respondents of the survey reported that they did not feel safe when go out and about 55% and 11% said they experienced harassment outside of their homes by strangers and employers respectively.

The baseline study substantiates opinion through hard data that domestic violence is widely prevalent in the country. About 45% respondents reported that black tradition of Karo-Kari, Vanni and Swara were in practice in their areas.

Moreover, 93% female and 87% male respondents from Multan district reported that men use violent means against their women. One of the reasons for low rate of reporting of the cases of violence is because use of violence against women by their male family members carries some legitimacy. Our survey reveals that 41% female and 50% male respondents believe that the ‘Men have the right to beat their wives and daughters.

The baseline survey also showed that along with physical violence, women suffer from various forms of economic and psychological violence.

The survey revealed that about 100% male and female respondents were not aware of any of the recently passed laws i.e. the Prevention of Anti Women Practices Bill laws (forced marriage, denial of inheritance to daughters etc.) and anti- sexual harassment at work places. Furthermore, no one knew about public policy on gender and the international conventions that have been introduced in the country to improve status of women. For instance, not a single respondent knew about Millennium Development Goals, Convention to Eliminate of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The survey also showed a huge gap between beliefs and practices. For instance, a large majority 90% of respondents were aware that denying female heirs share in inheritance is a punishable offence. However, when it comes to actually extending the right of inheritance to female heirs 76% females and 69% males said it is not practiced. No wonder only 3% women own any immoveable property in the country.

Violence against women manifests in many forms. Forced and under age marriages is one ugly form of it. It is widely prevalent – as many as 96% and 78% male and female respondents knew that forced and under age marriages were punishable act but they said they practice. Regarding mobility 84% female and 78% male reported that women can go out to work but not allowed going to see doctor, relative or a friend without permission.

Similarly, 83% female and 77% male said the women contribute to household’s economy but denied a say in decision-making in family matters. Moreover, 86% and 75% female and male respectively said the women contribute to the household through hard labour but denied to live their own life according to their will. Based on these facts, it is no wonder that 92% female and 85% male respondents said that women have a lower status than men in the country. Access across the four walls of home is vital for everyone. The survey data establishes that women have no access to any public life and lack participation in civil or political society activities. Even they have little access to digital gadgets. The survey shows that only 5% women own cell phones, while about 60% of their male counterparts have cell phones.

While giving its recommendations, the PDO said that women should be made aware of all the laws and policies that are formulated to bridge gender disparities through an aggressive media campaign, mobile courts should be established to catch and punish culprits of violence against women and women’s quota should be increased to 50% in local councils.

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Shahid Abbasi

Shahid Abbasi is founder and editor of with 10 years experience in conventional media, he is one of the pioneers of new/digital media in Pakistan. He tweets @MShahid_Abbasi

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