Problems faced by rural women in Pakistan

In Pakistan, women are destitute from basic rights. Several complexes yet inter connected institutionalized social and cultural factors have kept women particularly vulnerable the violence directed at them in different ways.

> Women are concentrated in the agriculture sector, primarily in diary and livestock. The returns to labor are low: only 19% are in paid employment and 60% work as unpaid workers on family farms and enterprises. Their unpaid work is valued (using comparative median wages) at PKR 683 billion, is 57% of all work done by women, and is 2.6% of GDP.

> College education is a catalyst for women to enter into the formal, paid employment. 4% rural women have college degrees, and 57% of them are employed, primarily as teachers.

> The gendered division of labor (women included in, transplanting, weeding, cotton picking, vegetable and wheat harvesting, care and management of livestock) is a barrier to women’s access to technologies, training, or microfinance. Very few women are entrepreneurs in Pakistan (1%); 20% of rural women are classified as own account workers (14% in agriculture and 6% in non-agriculture work). Women’s work as dairy farmers, vegetable producers etc. is not addressed.

> Once the backbone of the economy, contributing almost 40% of Pakistan’s GDP, agriculture now accounts for approximately 20% of the GDP, employing 42% of the labor forces (50% in rural areas, of which 28% is female).

Improving women’s access to agricultural inputs, using simple technologies to connect them to markets and information sources, expanding financial inclusion through mobile wallets and branchless banking, and removing conventional barrier to accessing credit (such as collateral, male guarantor etc.) adds value to women’s work. Skills trainings outreach and content, has to shift from its current focus on women’s reproductive roles and view them as major contributors to the economy. Climate Change Policy must be gender sensitive and nuanced to cater to the diverse geographic and topographic areas of Pakistan and the livelihoods of the communities therein. Women should be facilitated in growing new crops which are more resilient towards climate change, particularly in floods prone areas. The Environment Policy should be updated to reflect changes and to suggest actions for managing environmental changes due to climate change.

Gender and Environment

There is a general misunderstanding regarding what we have a tendency to mean after we refer to gender and environment. Gender mainstreaming refers to a policy of reflecting gender in all policies and programs and to examine the consequences of decisions on ladies and men. The subject of Gender and environment is way over gender mainstreaming.

The discussion of Gender and environment relies on 2 precepts:

  1. That gender mediates human/environment interactions and all environmental use, knowledge, and assessment; and
  2. That gender roles, responsibilities, expectations, norms, and also the division of labor shape all styles of human relationships to the environment.

When addressing gender in the context of the environment, it is important to recognize that women and men are not homogenous groups. Where women and men live, their age, social class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other variables, interact in shaping the links between gender and the environment. This complexity must be accounted for in participation, needs analysis and programed design.

A gender analysis of environmental work should cover the following categories:

  1. Formal and informal constraints: Rules and norms that shape the behavior of male and female in society, gender relations and identities.
  2. Division of labor: The tasks and responsibilities that men and women are expected to fulfil in private and public arenas.
  3. Access to and control over resources: The resources, in a broad sense, that men and women have access to and power to decide over.

Why all time this happened to the female gender? There are some

  1. Causes of Gender Inequality:
  • Patriarchy
  • Discriminatory fosterage of children by parents
  • Illiteracy
  • Sociocultural and Religious Influence

There are some Facts Figures:

  • Women with full-time jobs still earn only about 77% of their male counterparts’ earning
  • 62 million girls are denied an education all over the world
  • At least 1000 honor killings occur in India and Pakistan each annually
  • 1 in 3 women experienced physical violence at some point in their life
  • Each minute, 28 girls are married before they are ready

Some solutions for handling Gender Inequality:

  • Equal treatment of children by parents regardless of their gender
  • Eradicating patriarchy
  • Equal Educational Opportunities for children
  • Instilling the notion of gender equality into kids at a tender age

Climate change impact on agriculture

Climate change and agriculture are reticular procedures, both of which take place on a global scale. Climate change affects agriculture in many ways such as nutritional quality reduction of many foods, temperature, rainfall, food security and so on.

Climate change is already affecting agriculture with lowered crop products in low latitude countries. Climate change also has a devastating impact on food security as well. Due to climate change average crop yield is likely to drop to 50% in Pakistan reported by the Met office scenario. Rapid climate change could double the harm on agriculture in those countries which are already suffering from poor soil and climate conditions.

In central and south Asia crop yields might decreases up to 30% predicted by International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As, Pakistan is an agro-based and ranked 12th among other countries of the world that are predicted to be sternly over blown by climate change.

During the last two decades, 200 million have been hoist out of hunger and ubiquity of long term mal-nutrition in children has been decreased from 40 to 26%. Regardless of this progress, according to World Bank 702 million people still live in extreme poverty. According to last year report on the state of food insecurity in the world (SOFI), 793 million people are undernourished.

Moreover, due to chronic and gradual climate risk, sea-level will rise as a result of climate change, that could affect the livelihood in coastal areas and river deltas. Climate change affects all proportions of food security and nutrition such as food availability, food access, food utilization and food stability.

Water scarcity leads to Food insecurity

“Global Warming is not a prediction, it is happening”

Climate change is a global phenomenon, but their impacts are more pronounced in South Asia during the past few decades, which challenges food security in this region.

Thus, Pakistan facing frequent climate change induced annual drought and floods. Once, Pakistan known a water surplus country and now a water deficient country. The rain fall is neither sufficient, nor regular, to meet the growing needs of water. Yet we are wasting water on daily bases.

The surface water resources in Pakistan mainly the Indus River and its tributaries, which bring is about 138 million acre feet of water annually. The Indus River alone provide 65% of the total river flows.

The flow during the Kharif is 84% and during Rabi season is 16% in Pakistan.

Pakistan always face food shortage due to water scarcity and 47% population is food insecure. The production of food is greatly dependent on irrigation. So, Pakistan required new strategies to enhance water use efficiency, maintain and improve the quality and sustainability of resources base at Basin and water shed level. Pakistan need to invest soon in increasing rain water harvesting by increasing storage capacity of water.

Long term strategies may include the construction of large storage dams, better flood and drought forecasting mechanisms and resolving water distribution problems in all over Pakistan.

Short term strategies to save water are careful use of water in our daily use, campaigns and advocacy to ensure lesser water wastage, people in urban areas are wasting a lot of water in car wash, street cleaning, and other recreational activities these need to stop. Because water we waste in urban areas are causing a lot of trouble for the people in rural areas and causing damage to our agriculture. We are killing the rights of the people who are now deprived of the water because of our wastage of water.