Assessment of women’s economic empowerment in the rice cultivation sector of the upper Punjab region, Pakistan

Saira Akhtar, Shabbir Ahmad, Wu Huifang, Shakeel Imran, Chunyu Wang, Gulfam Hassan, Nazia Tabasam, Khalid Mahmood


The present study was conducted to identify and discuss the social norms, perceptions, and expectations which shape or constraint men’s, and women’s economic empowerment. The current study was conducted in the rice cultivation sectors of Sheikhupura and Gujranwala districts of the Punjab Province, Pakistan.  A qualitative (cross-sectional) study was designed to get responses from the respondents of the targeted area. One tehsil was purposively selected from each district and sixty-five respondents (both males and females) were invited from 13 different villages of the above-mentioned tehsils. Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were held for data collection activity in collaboration with the Doaba Foundation. A pre-defined interview guide based on Oxfam’s Social Norms Diagnostic Toolkit and Rapid Care Analysis Toolkit was used to collect opinions from the respondents with the inclusion of various exercises. The major findings of the study revealed that most of the care work yielded by women ranging from the rice cultivation to the household chores go unacknowledged, because it is included in the total household income, and the rural women face discrimination in every sphere of life. The study concludes that to achieve women’s economic empowerment, adequate wages, and safe working conditions, where they are protected from sexual and gender-based violence, must be ensured. The government should devise policies for the protection of women regarding discrimination and implement it in true spirit to fulfil the dream of the economic empowerment of women in Pakistan.


Women’s Economic Empowerment; Social Norms Diagnostic Toolkit; Rapid Care Analysis Toolkit; Rice Cultivation


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DOI: 10.33687/ijae.009.01.3503


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