Over in the labour force. It has also been

 Over the last century, the most significant
change in the labour market has been the remarkable growth in women’s
participation in the labour force. From less than 5 percent at the turn of the
20th century, female labour force participation (FLP) grew to over 70 percent
in the mid-1990s peaking at 72 percent in 2000, before it began to retreat back
to 70 percent in 2004 (Goldin, 2006). As argued by (Goldin, 2006), the evolution of
aggregate trends in FLP only partially reflects the profound changes in the
place or identity of women in society that accelerated in the second half of
the 20th century. Period specific structural changes, such as the rise of the
clerical sector in the early 20th century ( (Goldin, Understanding the Gender
Gap: An Economic History of American Woman, 1990; Costa, 2000) or technological
progress in the household at mid-century (Greenwood, A, &
Yorukoglu, 2005) are part of the many explanations
supporting the transformation of women’s role. (Goldin & L, The Power of
the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions,,
and (Bailey, 2006) have also provided
compelling evidence of cohort effects due to innovation in contraception
affecting changes in female educational attainment and labour market outcomes
of cohorts born after the late 1940s.

Although gender inequality has
reduced globally in key areas, women still lag behind men in labour market
participation. An increased female labour force participation rate is desirable
as it can reduce poverty and boost overall economic growth within a country ( (C, Jain, Kochar, &
Newiak, 2015). Some studies have found education to
have a positive role on female participation in labour force ( (Lincove, 2008; Psacharopoulos &
Tzannatos, 1998). A higher level of female education
generally tends to increase the level of women in the labour force along with
the time spent in the labour force. It has also been found that the degree of
effects of female education on the labour force participation is affected by
country specific variables. For example, (Cameron, Dowling, &
Worswick, 2001)
found that in countries with traditionally more rigid gender roles female
education has less of an impact on FLFP. Number and age of children are also
found to impact female labour participation since they limit the time women can
spend working ( (Thevenon, 2009). Because religion,
religiosity, and patriarchal norms influence beliefs about the appropriateness
of a women’s involvement in paid work, they are likely relevant cultural
determinants of FLFP. In Pakistan,
however, there is no empirical evidence to support or examine these phenomena
due to a lack of attention and research interest in this issue. Despite
experiencing high economic growth and structural transformations, primarily
enhanced role of the services sector, lowering fertility rates and reducing
gender inequality gaps, the country’s FLFP rate has not increased at a reasonable
pace compared to neighbouring developing economies.

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proposed study aims to expand on the FLFP literature by including elements of
culture and religion more comprehensively. Specifically, this study will analyse
female labour force participation on culture, religions, and external and
internal patriarchal norms, along with other potential factors regarded as
relevant in the literature. The results of this study will hopefully provide
significant information for the local government
and non-governmental organizations in making laws, policies and decisions
regarding economic development in the region, and also help awareness among
parents and female population.

Research Questions

To what extend socio-cultural and religious
factors influence female labour participation?

How parents’ beliefs about gender influence female labour

What are the appropriate actions that enhance female participation
in labour force? 

Literature Review

Trend of Female Labour Force Participation

trends of FLFP

              Several social scientists have
studied the strong increase in the female labour force participation that has
occurred in many western countries. Here this paper will discuss some early and
some recent studies about global trends, and subsequently will turn to the
situation in Pakistan. Proponents of human rights, feminist and economists advocate
the participation of women in economic activities. Since women are almost half
of the world’s population, there has been a global realization and effort to
increase their participation in the total workforce of a country, based on
belief that development of human resource is incomplete without involving women
(Nussbaum, 2001). Currently the
situation worldwide is quite grim and needs extensive improvement. During the
20th century UK and the US experienced a strong increase in female labour
market participation, and excellent census data made early studies possible. In
both countries, economists were particularly interested in the question whether
the increase in real wages could explain the increase in female participation.
For the UK, (Layard, Barton, &
Zabalza, 1980)
used cross-section data from the UK Household Survey 1974 in order to estimate
the wage elasticity, and concluded that wages explained about a third of the
increase in female participation during the period 1973-1977. (Joshi, Layard, & Owen,
turned to repeat census and survey data for the period 1850-1980. They isolate
a clear cohort effect, and conclude that wages only explain a minor part of the
increase in female participation. The authors offer some tentative explanations,
such as falling prices of domestic services, changing fertility, and long-term
changes in the roles women see for themselves in life.

studies describe and analyse the increasing female labour market participation
that has and still is taking place in several countries. Examples are (Beaudry & Lemieux, 1999), who use the Survey
of Consumer Finances 1976-1884 to investigate the increase in Canada, (Fitzenberger, Schnabel,
& Wunderlich, 2004), who use the
Micro-Census 1976-1995 to investigate the increase in Germany, and (Contreras, Puentes, &
Bravo, 2005),
who use the Employment and Unemployment Survey 1957-1997 to investigate the
increase in Greater Santiago, Chile.

Trends of
FLFP in Pakistan.

    Women in Pakistan are half of the
population, yet they constitute one-fourth of the total labour-force. This
means that massive human resources is presently untapped, neither contributing
to economic development of the nation, nor to enhance their own status in
society. Pakistan belongs to those few developing nations where labour force
participation (LFP) of women is one of the lowest in world and less than world
average of 51.2%. On the contrary some countries like China and some regions
like East Asia has LFP of women as high as 67.7% and 63.1% respectively. Apart
from work force participation, gender imbalance vis- a- vis woman exist in
other domains as well. For instance, women of Pakistan make up a major portion
of poverty stricken segment and this poverty exist not only in terms of
financial resources but access to facilities and entrepreneurial resources too (Siddiqui, 2001; Mujtaba, 2001). Similarly,
discrimination exists towards woman in accessing education facilities, training
and social services (Ali, 2013). There is visible
gender inequality in literacy rate in Pakistan. Literacy in woman of age 10 and
above is 47% as compared to 70.7% in male (PBSGP, 2012). Similarly at levels
of education, the participation of woman in labour force is less than males,
indicating some unseen barriers from society and prevalent gender
discrimination in labour market. The female participation of higher education
institution is not only low in Pakistan but this is a universal trend.  Even women have been a much lower proportion of
university teachers of sociology than of students in sociology in Britain, and
have also been under-represented in the higher ranks of academia (Jennifer, 2000)

spite having low labour force participation rate in statistics, considerable
number of women participates in economic activities. Yet their contribution is
largely undermined and due to socio-cultural and economic factors, their status
is considered less than men (Mohiuddin & Kazi, 1991). Majority of working
women in Pakistan are employed in informal sector, mainly agriculture. There is
a substantial difference between jobs of informal sector and formal sectors (Pradhan & A, 1995). Although women
comprise 49.1% of total population their proportion in labour force is 21.6%
whereas their participation rate as percentage of total population of females, as
of 2011 is only 22% (WorldBank, 2012). Nonetheless, over
the past few years, the human development indictor have indicated positive
trend as in years 1999-2000 women constituted only 13.7% of total workforce in
Pakistan (WorldBank, 2012). Yet if we compare
it in whatever manner, either by percentage of total women population, as
percentage of total workforce in the country or as an increase of participation
over the years, the figures are quite below the global averages.

Influencing Women’s Labour Participation

Rural and
urban divide.

women living in rural or in urban households of Pakistan are not a homogenous
group, nor are their status and livelihood strategies same, yet, all of them
are involved in common roles of production, reproduction and household
maintenance. The degree and mode of involvement in unpaid and income earning
activities and degree of changes in access to economic resources are different.
Basically, rural women form 29.8 percent of total labour force in rural areas
(Economic Survey: 2008-2009). The largest share of the female labour force in
rural areas consists of women who are economically active within the household
only. The available data indicated a gradual decline in the female labour
participation rates after the adaptation of mechanisation and commercialisation
of agriculture at optimal level. A decline has been observed in female labour
participation rates in two Agricultural Census (1980-1990), and two labour
Force Surveys (1987- 1988) and (1997-1998) with an interval of decade. Moreover,
in rural areas, the contribution of women in the family income is also
extremely low, i.e., rural women contributed only 5.8 % to household income.
This appears to be inversely proportional to the participation rates of women
in the labour force which are much higher for rural women (35.9%) than for
urban women (10.7%). This is largely due to the occupational structure and
employment status of rural women. An overwhelming majority of rural women (80%)
work in the agriculture sector. However, a major portion of these rural women
(72%) are not paid for their work and merely termed as unpaid family workers.


   Cultural factors also influence the level of FLFP (Antecol, 2000; Clark,
Ramsbey, & Adler, 1991; Fernandez & Fogli, 2005; Psacharopoulos &
Tzannatos 1989). Culture is partly responsible for the tastes that a woman
holds when determining if and to what extent she will join the labor force.
However, culture is also a social pressure placed on a woman from those around
her, including her family members and neighbors (Antecol, 2003; Fernandez &
Fogli, 2005).The socio-cultural problems hinder the access of women to
employment since they stem from the traditional patriarchal norms of the
society which support the sex- stereo typing and gender bias. These constraints
also cause problems for working women in both the formal and informal sectors.
A majority of women can be found working in the informal sector is due to the
fact that such constraints have a great weightage against employment of women
in the formal sector. In most of the cases women are only permitted to acquire
education and training if it conforms to the socially accepted roles of women
and train them as housewives or other household related activities. Because man
is considered as breadwinner thus, female employment is accorded less social
acceptance as it lower the status of the family, unless women are engaged in
relatively well paid jobs receive higher professional qualifications like in
certain areas of education and health fields.

Impact of

 (Clark, Ramsey & Alder, 1991)
looked at 75 countries, assigning one of six cultural variables to each country
along with controlling for factors such as education, commodity concentration
and GNP. They find that culture has a considerable impact on FLFP. They also
find that from 1960 to 1980 the FLFP in Islamic countries declined, which may
be due to a rise in Islamic fundamentalism. Using data from the World Values
Survey, (Guiso, Sapienza, & Zingales, 2003) look at the relationship
between the intensity of religious beliefs and economic attitudes for six
religions; Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. They
found that across all of the six religious groups they look at, people are less
sympathetic to women’s rights and hold a more conservative view of women’s role
in society. These views on women are twice as strong for Muslims than for other
religious people.

Theoretical Framework

This topic can be seen through the sociological theory of Cultural hegemony. Cultural hegemony,
is a concept articulated by Italian scholar and activist Antonio Gramsci,
refers to domination, or rule, achieved through ideological (cultural) means (Gramsci
1917). The term refers to the ability of a group of people to hold power over
social institutions and thus, to
strongly influence the everyday thoughts, expectation, and behaviour of the
rest of society by directing the normative ideas, values, and beliefs that
become the dominant worldview of a society. Ruling group impose their ideas,
philosophy and culture on subordinated people by means of media as a tool to
maintain the status quo and lay people accept the ideology and dominancy of the
ruling class as a reality.

Thus, in seeking to explain female labor force participation,
we must not only consider the variables that influence the trade-off between
labor and home-based production, but also the belief and cultural variables
that influence how ultimately responsible a woman feels for home-based
production tasks in the first place. Individual demographic differences in age,
education, household income, fertility, marital status, urban or rural
location, religion, and religiosity theoretically should affect the likelihood of
a woman’s labor force decision.

The effects of religion and personal patriarchal
beliefs held by the woman are interesting variables to consider because of how
they influence a woman’s
preference in making the decision to allocate her time between labor and
home-production. In extreme cases, religion and patriarchal norms may increase
the likelihood that a dominant male-figure makes the time allocation decision,
eliminating the woman’s choice entirely.

In Pakistan, women’s socio-economic status,
husband’s level of education and observance of purdah (segregation) are also
factors that affect FLFP. These are indicative traits of a patriarchal society
and hence the significantly influence women’s participation in the labour force
market. This has a significant relationship with not only changing family
equations and structures, now moving towards a nuclear family and marrying age,
but the size of the labour force also changes gradually, depending upon several
factors that create an environment conducive for women to participate in the
work force.


Context of Research

Nagar is located in the Northern
part of Pakistan bordering- China and world’s 2nd largest glacier
and 14th highest peak (Rakaposhi) also situated in this particular
region. Because of its geographical location and climatic condition this region
occupies insufficient health and education institutions. Nagar,
Gilgit-Baltistan has been one of the remotest and traditionally conservative
society of Pakistan, perceiving female participation in society as social
taboo. But after changing of socio-political structure during Bhutto’s era 1974
in Nagar, Gilgit-Baltistan first primary school had been established and it was
the ultimate source of spreading light of knowledge. Due to tireless efforts of
NGO’s and also with the impacts of globalization, media and intervention made
by government female roles have been influenced (Katja, 2015).


This study will adopt descriptive survey design including
in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. This design is appropriate for
the study because it would encompass parent’s beliefs and attitudes towards
gender careers. Also the survey and in-depth interviews with female population
will give uniqueness of the individual experiences and the collected data will
be examined to identify barriers influenced by class, culture and religion in
the participation of female labor participation. A qualitative approach is
appropriate to capture the opinion of senior professionals such as government
officials, employees of NGOs, university researchers, and teachers to explore
the behavior, perspectives, experiences and feelings of people and emphasize
the understanding of these elements. Hence the qualitative approach is suitable
method for this research study.

Research Approach

Target population.

The man and women of age between 18
to 40 in district Nagar, Gilgit-Baltistan,
Pakistan will be
the target population for
the proposed study. In addition, Schools and colleges in district will be included to collect information
about girl student alumni from school/college principals and teachers. All
researchers from two Universities in Gilgit-Baltistan who teach sociology
subject at university students or doing research on this topic will be included
in this study. Also government offices where in the district where there is
substantial number of female participation will be visited and interviewed to
understand challenges they face in office working culture. Local and province
level NGOs who are working for the gender roles and inequalities will be part
of this study.


Sample size and sampling procedure.

Purposive sampling will be used in
this study. The researcher will decide to choose which village to include among
30 villages and who to select for the study, after conducting a piolet study
and based on their ability to provide necessary data. The researcher will also
work in conjunction with the management of District and NGOs in choosing
participants, based on their level of experience in the particular field as
well as their qualifications. Attempts will be made to ensure significant
representation of both sexes.

Research instruments.

            The study will include various instruments which included
questionnaire for general sample population, interview protocols for head
teachers of schools and colleges, researchers, professionals and District
management offices. Also guidelines will be developed for focus group
discussion of parents and elders of the village. Two types of question items
will be used in the questionnaire i.e. closed ended questions and open-ended
questions. Interviews will be focused and preferred as a device for data
collection because it is a social encounter and respondents are willing to
respond in a socially acceptable or desirable way (Wiersman, 1985). The focus
group discussion for parents will be a guided discussion. This instrument will
be used because it is appropriate for soliciting information in the shortest
time possible (Mikkelson, 1995). The most commonly used instruments are
questionnaires, interview protocols, (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). Other
instruments for this study includes secondary data such as local and national
surveys reports about labor force and Human development, official documents.

Data Collection

To gain first hand data about
current status of women participation in labor force, documentary sources of
relevant information nationally generated and/or locally available will be
collected and analyzed. Other data in this study will be collected through
questionnaire, interview protocols and focus group discussions. Interviews and focus
group discussions will be made with parents of female in the sample villages
visited. This method is ideal because the dynamic interaction among
participants stimulates their thoughts and reminds them of their own feelings
about the research topic. To collect data from parents may be the most
problematical of surveys as parents in some locations most likely unavailable
due to their working commitments or unwilling to participate for reasons of
understandable caution or customary constraints of other kinds. Maximum effort
will be made to complete this part of survey. All the interviews with
participants will be recorded using tape recorder and later analyzed. Also
field notes will be taken during interview and focus group discussions with
parents and community leaders.

Data Analysis

The data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics. MS Excel will be
used as data analysis tool to present the analyzed data in tables, charts and
graphs with emphasis to frequencies and percentages. The field notes will be
edited, coded and written based on content and, analyzed deductively.








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