Shattering the public/private divide: role of Mohajir women in the Karachi conflict

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Khan, Saad
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Economic emancipation is considered to be a critical pre-requisite to female empowerment. Using data collected through semi-structured interviews with six (6) women from the Mohajir community in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan, the present study examines whether in the wake of economic emancipation, Mohajir women were able to achieve holistic female empowerment. The findings indicate that while Mohajir women did achieve economic emancipation, it did not result in holistic female empowerment as decisionmaking power ultimately rested with the patriarch because of religious, social, cultural and psychological reasons. The findings also reveal that the study participants believed that ideally a man is ultimately responsible for providing for his family since he is naturally endowed to be the breadwinner. Moreover, the findings further indicate that the need for security of life was considered to be the most crucial and basic of all needs and human needs followed a hierarchical pattern. In light of the findings, it is suggested that changes within the security, legal, academic and religious spheres be initiated so that Mohajir and Pakistani women are able to achieve holistic empowerment.
Empowerment, Female, Mohajir, Karachi, Economic, Emancipation