Gender equality

Women Empowerment

There have been important advances in gender equality in Pakistan in recent years. Pakistani women today are more likely to participate in the labour force and decision-making, and access health and education services, than their mothers and grandmothers. With about a fifth of parliamentary seats held by women, Pakistan has a strong representation in terms of women’s political representation in South Asia. But considerable progress is required for Pakistani women to fully access their rights to fulfil their life aspirations, and empower themselves to be full partners in development. Women comprise over half of Pakistan’s population, yet only 22.7 percent are part of the labour force. Even those who are part of the labour force are largely in the informal sector, receiving low pay and with few legal protections. Less than a fifth of Pakistani women have been to secondary school, compared to over half of Indian women.

Our goals

UNDP supports government and civil society partners to empower women and achieve gender equality. In contributing to development for all Pakistanis, female or male, we work to guarantee that women participate in, and their voices are heard, across government institutions, civil society, the private sector and in UNDP itself. Gender equality is fundamental to a country’s development and essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Accordingly, we are guided by the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2014–2017, advancing the empowerment of women as we support countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. Globally and in Pakistan, we integrate the experiences and needs of women into every aspect of our work.

Almost 50 percent of Pakistan’s population consists of women

Most women have no formal skills, making this segment of the society vulnerable to injustice and discrimination. Providing women with skills and employment opportunities will help establish prosperity and economic growth.

Sidra belongs to Nowshera. She is serving with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police. Her journey to follow her dreams was not easy, however, she was always determined to break stereotypes and provide justice to the women of some marginalized communities in Pakistan.

Gender and Sustainable Development

“We are more aware of our surroundings and I haven’t felt this productive in my entire life,” Muhammad Jaan. Photo: UNDP Pakistan/Huma Akram
Paving the Way for Women Empowerment

For the first time in her 103 years, Muhammad Jaan feels productive and actively takes part in her village community meetings. She is one of the most elderly Women Community Organization members and lives in a small village Padhana, district Haripur. For her, this village is synonymous to her life.Read more 

Women were given temporary employment under the cash for work scheme for repairing the houses in their villages. Photo: UNDP Pakistan
Women earn income by repairing houses post floods

Allah Bachai like other workers, started her duty from 9 am till 5 pm including one hour break for lunch and prayers. When asked what she would do with the money earned from cash for work, she said “I will buy clothes and jewellery for my younger sister who will be getting married soon.” Read more 

35-year-old Fauzia Tabbassum has taken on a crucial role in protecting the safety of the residents of Singhoor, her home village in Pakistan’s remote mountainous north. She is the deputy chair of the Village Disaster Management Committee
Communities lead efforts to reduce the risk of disasters

“I have become more aware of the importance of timely decision making on emergency response and evacuation,” she says. “When the recent floods occurred, I realized that some families who recently migrated from Upper Chitral were living near a hill torrent, at risk of flood. Read more 

UNDP assisted police force to train its security officials in an effort to increase public security for the May 11 general elections. Photo: UNDP Pakistan/Fatimah Inayet
Strengthening Women's role in Rule of Law

Anila Kanwal, 20, has been working as a police constable for almost three years. Based in Manshera, the same city where she grew up, she always wanted to join the police force. Anila said, "I love my uniform. It gives me the motivation to do something good for people, especially women."Read more 

Badam Zari, the first woman to contest for the National Assembly seat from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Photo: UNDP Pakistan
The first-ever woman candidate contesting in general elections from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas

A total of 4,670 candidates are contesting for 272 seats in the National Assembly. Out of this, only 161 are women. Zari is one of them and she decided to campaign as an independent candidate, without any political affiliation.Read more 

Community Policing was introduced in Malakand district to help increase citizens’ confidence in their interactions with police.
The First Woman Police Master Trainer in KP Province

“When I joined the police force, my uncle told me not to enter the village in uniform, saying he will feel embarrassed telling people his niece had joined a male-dominated profession. Now he has a sense of pride in his voice when he mentions me as Inspector of Police to others”, says Inspector Anila Read more 

A new beginning for Shahnaz

Shahnaz, a 32-year-old widow and her family of seven are among thousands of internally displaced person (IDP) families who lost their house, possessions and livelihoods upon their return to Bara, Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). “I was very excited when I heard that UNDP and the FATA Secretariat were providing cash grants to returning IDPs” Shahnaz said.Read more 

With support from UNDP’s Community Resilience initiative, Rukhsana opened her own tailoring and embroidery business in her house
Seamstress stitches together a secure future

Rukhsana, 40, lives in the Malikyar village in District Haripur with her husband and four children. When her husband was laid off from a local factory, they relied on the support of their extended family. As a result, Rukhsana decided to become financially independent and started sewing clothes for her neighbours.Read more 

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