Socio-Economic Context of Women in Pakistan

  • The population of Pakistan is almost 155 million
  • It has grown by 19 percent since 1998
  • The male female ratio is 108:100
  • Women constitute 48 percent of Pakistan’s population
  • Their health and social development indicators are poor as compared to males, both urban as well as in rural areas of the province
  • The under five-mortality rate for females is 119 as compared to men, which is 109 per 1000 live births
  • The average age at marriage is 22 years for women
  • The estimated crude birth rate is 34 per 1000
  • The total fertility rate is 4.5 births, by women reaching age 45-49
  • The maternal mortality ratio is estimated to be 500 per 100,000 live births every year
  • The overall literacy ratio in Pakistan is 49.9 percent
  • At the same time female literacy ratio is only 36 percent
  • Urban areas have a higher literacy ratio both for males and females
  • Literacy levels for rural women is only 20 percent
  • 65.5 percent of Pakistan’s population is rural and is dependent on agriculture and related sectors
Socio-Economic Context of Women in Sindh:

According to the 1998 census, the population of Sindh is almost 30 million, which has grown by 58 percent since the last census in 1981. The male female ratio is 111:100 Women constitute 47 percent of Sindh’s population.[1]

The infant mortality rate for women is 105 as compared to men, which is 93 per 1000 live births. In Sindh,[2] the average age at marriage is 21.6 years for women and 25.7 years for men. The estimated crude birth rate is 33 per 1000 and 28 percent constitute mothers with more than 5 births. The completed fertility size is 6.0 births, by women reaching age 45-49. more than 4,000 mothers die every year due to pregnancy related issues. The overall literacy ratio in Sindh is 47 percent, which is higher than the national ratio of 45 percent. But at the same time female literacy ratio is only 36 percent against the national average of 33 percent. Literacy levels for rural women are only 12 percent.

Literacy Rate of Women in Sindh (percentage):

Year

Women

1975

20.0

1980

21.5

1985

22.4

1990

23.7

1995

25.8

Table Source: Social Policy and Development Centre, “Social Development in Pakistan, Annual Review, 1998, pg 130 

Social Development Indicators for Men and Women in Sindh:

Indicator

Women

Men

Literacy Rate

34.8%

58.5%

Gross Primary Enrolment

35.2%

58.2%

Combined Primary and Secondary

18.1%

29.9%

Urban Literacy Rate

56.7%

69.4%

Available # of Primary Schools

21,992

32,909

Maternal Mortality

8/1,000 live births

----

Infant Mortality Rate

105/1,000 live births

93/1,000 live births

Labor Force Participation

6.9%

67%

Top Managerial Jobs

0.23%

29.48%

Source: Social Development in Pakistan Annual Review 2001, Ministry of Education, and Development Statistics of Sindh, Sindh BOS 2002


Sindh has much more equal distribution of over 6 million women living in the urban areas and just 7 million women living in rural areas. Of these approximately 3 million women are over the age of eighteen, residing in both urban and rural regions.

Percentage of Women in Major Occupation Groups in Sindh:

Total Occupations

All Areas

Rural

Urban

Total

M

F

Total

M

F

Total

M

F

Legislators, Senior Officials and

100

92.6

7.37

55.7

50.3

5.38

44.3

42.3

1.99

Managers

13.8

13.6

0.15

2.68

2.66

0.3

11.1

11.0

0.13

Professionals

2.53

2.29

0.23

0.76

0.74

0.2

1.77

1.55

0.22

Technicians and Associate Professionals

5.74

5.01

0.72

2.69

2.58

0.11

3.05

2.43

0.62

Source: “Labor Force Survey 1999-2000,” Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, July 2001

Percentage of Women in Major Divisions of Industry in Sindh:

Major Industry Division

Rural

Urban

Agriculture, Forestry, Hunting and Fishing

5.15

0.07

Mining and Quarrying

---

---

Manufacturing

0.04

0.47

Electricity, Gas and Water

0.03

---

Construction

---

0.02

Wholesale and Retail Trade Restaurants and Hotels

0.03

0.09

Financing, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services

---

0.04

Community, Social and Personal Services

0.14

1.30

Source: Labor force Survey July 2001.

 

Source for text:

1. ‘Population and Housing Census of Pakistan(1998), Provincial Results of Sindh: Census Bulletin-4, Population Census Organization, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad

2. District Population Profile: Sindh’, Operationalizing and Interpreting Population Census for Planning, Multi-donor Support Unit, Islamabad, March 2002.

Events & Updates
  • The Department of Women Development has organized a walk on 07.03.2011 at Mazar-e-Quaid. The Minister Women Development Ms. Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto and Secretary Women Development Mr. Liaqat Randhava led the walk and laid wreath on the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam and Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. The prominent NGOs and members of Civil Society attedned the walk and reaffirm their commitment toward women Empowerment.
  • International Women Labor Day symposia held on 3rd May 2008 at Sukkur.
  • Violence against Women Seminar held on 14th May 2008 at Larkana.
  • Celebration of Birth Day of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah held on 31st July, 2008.
  • Celebration of Independence Day on 14th August, 2008 with Women & Juvenile Prisoners at Women Jails in Karachi & Hyderabad.
  • Exhibition of products of Women Entrepreneurs at EXPO in Womenza from 29th to 31st August, 2008.
  • International exhibition on Women Leadership, & Entrepreneurship with Triple –E and WDD, supported by Karachi Chamber of Commerce in 2008.
  • Shaheed Muhtarama Benazir Bhutto Award was given to Ms Faryal Talpur MNA, Larkana in recognition of female achievement.
  • Presided over one day consultation on “Self Employed Women and their Experiences and Observations” on 7th March 2009.
  • Presided over Seminar for Labor Day on March 29th in Karachi.
  • Attended SAARC International Women’s Day, opening ceremony event on March 8th 2009.
  • Selection of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Program (BBSYD) trainees is underway.
  • Women department representatives to attend a UNIFEM conference in Nepal attended by Minister WDD
  • Packard Foundation conference on standardization of age of marriage and violence against women attended
  • UNIFEM conference on Home Based Workers attended
  • Key note speaker for APWA Annual conference was Secretary WDD.
  • Attended Asian Development Bank, Training of Trainers to mainstream gender in to curriculums of public institutions.
  • Launching of the Provincial CEDAW/ GRAP Committee held on 19th November 2009 in Karachi
Government Links
Ministry of Women Development
Punjab WD Department
NWFP WD Department
Balochistan WD Department
Azad Kashmir WD Department
NCWS
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