Sarwat Rauf


This article analyzes the status of women in Pakistan as well as the effectiveness of new legislation on women’s empowerment in Pakistan. I examine the impact of governmental efforts to empower women on social practices in Pakistan. The concept of women's empowerment is becoming popular horizontally, but vertically, actual empowerment is hindered because of the glass-ceiling and social taboos; hence, a lot of sincere and strenuous efforts are required to change the prevailing mindset. To support gender equality, Pakistan, like other states, encourages women's participation in social, political and economic spheres. However, the success of a few female role models tends to obscure the obstacles faced by the majority of women workers. This article underscores that Pakistan has introduced positive amendments to its constitution in order to reinforce women's positions in different sectors during the last two decades, but that several anomalies are attached to women’s involvement in social, political and security sectors. The legal policies of Pakistan are built on universalistic assumptions aiming to uplift women’s status. However, the domestic situation is different in its presuppositions and hampers the implementation of the law. This paper raises the question of why longstanding governmental efforts have not achieved the goal of women's empowerment? In researching this paper, a close societal level observation was made. Afterwards, books, official documents, websites, articles and opinions were examined to support an objective and real analysis. The intended purpose of this paper is to analyze the barriers to the implementation of laws favouring women's empowerment. Additionally, this paper presents policy recommendations for ensuring vertical empowerment and development of leadership skills for women in Pakistan.

Author Biography

Dr. Sarwat Rauf is Associate Professor of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad. ORCID is: 0000-0003-2239-6934