Pakistan Ranked Second Worst Country for Women

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The World Economic Forum has declared Pakistan as the second-worst country in terms of gender equality in the world; ranked 145 out of 146 countries. According to the report of the Global Gender Gap Index, the gender gap in Pakistan will become 56.4% by 2022, which is the highest in the last 16 years. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Index report claimed that Pakistan’s performance in terms of gender equality is very disappointing; in this list, the only country that falls below Pakistan is war-torn Afghanistan; ranked at 146.

Global Gender Gap Index says, five countries, Iceland, Finland, Norway, New Zealand, and Sweden, have the highest levels of gender equality. While Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Republic of Congo, Iran, and Chad are among the five worst countries. The Global Gender Gap Index notes gender-based disparities in four key areas and collects information on progress to eliminate said obstacles over the period of time.

Eat News talked to Ms. Ayesha Sarwari on this report as she is considered a voice for women’s rights in Pakistan. Giving her analysis of the report Ms. Ayesha Sarwari said, “You will rarely see women as heads of institutions in Pakistan. It has been commonly observed that local women are not promoted to high ranks due to many reasons, one of them being motherhood and maternity. Because of this, many women have to leave their workplace temporarily or permanently. To provide opportunities for women in workplaces, it is necessary for the government to protect the rights of working women”.

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In Ms. Sarwari’s opinion, there is a need to bring about a change at the social level. Moreover, the care and upbringing of the child should be the equal responsibility of both the mother and the father.

Eat News talked to Islamabad-based renowned women’s rights activist Ms. Shaista Yasmeen, about this report. She believed that as far as women’s rights are concerned the situation is alarming in the country. “We have been working on gender equality and gender equity since 1997. Pakistan has signed international agreements to address such kinds of gender-oriented issues which fall under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am surprised why we should discuss these matters only when international ratings and rankings are published and the media highlights these issues. Being a state we have to fulfill the promises otherwise we won’t be able to ensure gender equality. Personally, I appreciate the government of Pakistan for the positive gender-based legislation since 2008. If there is no legislation one cannot help or approach the violence victims or violence survivors. The second phase is an awareness raising about laws and legislations; people and especially women should have to know their fundamental rights as conferred by the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

Ms. Shaista Yasmin said, “Pakistan is a traditional society, where usually people do not encourage their females and women to report the cases of gender violence, so we do not have access to all data/ cases. Indeed, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights activists are working in the county but in the last couple of years NGOs and the social sector itself faced a lot of problems”.

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It is worthy to share that in the Bajur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province local elders in a grand Jirga decided that women will not be allowed to visit picnic points in the district. Various videos are going viral on social media where community elders are clearly saying that if the local administration will not accept the decision made by Jirga then they themselves will impose a ban on women’s outdoor activities. According to Jirga, the outdoor movement of women is obscenity and nudity. Bajur province was formerly a tribal area of the country which is adjacent to Afghanistan.

What is Jirga?

Jirga is a local conflict resolution forum that is usually found in the North-Western Pashto-speaking parts of Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Critics believe that it is a parallel justice system that is against the essence of the country’s constitution.

In the Global Gender Gap Index report, the forum has defined four factors that have an effect on gender equality, which include;

1.      Pay and economic opportunities

2.      Education

3.      Health

4.      Women empowerment

Which country is at which level on these factors, to provide this estimate, the World Economic Forum compiled a list containing data from 146 countries. Considering the above four factors, it is stated that Iceland has the highest points in this list.

This report has been prepared for the last 16 years. It aims to identify factors that contribute to gender gaps or gender inequality in the labor market.

According to the estimates of the World Economic Forum, keeping in view the current situation it will take 132 years to bring gender equality in the world while according to estimates made in 2020, it was predicted that it would take 100 years to achieve this goal.

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Muhammad Farhan Niazi is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan and is an experienced senior producer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in feature and news writing, non-linear editing, radio, multimedia journalism, Online journalism, film production, and sound. Strong media and communication professional graduated from University of Peshawar.


Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.
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