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2.1       Empowerment and
measurement issues


It’s because of the interpretation of the existing content, the
complexity of empowerment of women has been acknowledged by many scientists and
social workers all around the world. If we consider an instance on this matter
we will see the study done on about five Asian countries that mostly reported
the influence on gender due to social values and norms due to rising
inequality. The findings done by researchers indicated that the concept of
women empowerment is much complex since there can be some areas where they are
not empowered; while in some, they have their right of empowerment (2003). The
values presented by society matters a lot while talking about women empowerment
and to achieve the desired change in the society, the ground of empowerment
should be thoroughly solid.

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Another study suggested that it’s the word ‘power’ which can
act as an influential aspect to bring this change (2010). Furthermore, some
social workers reportedly suggested that the effects of religion on Pakistan
changed drastically being an identity to dictating the entire lives of the
civilians. That means religion used to be simply a choice and everyone would
follow with pure heart but presently, it has been controlling the lives of
people around Pakistan (2009). Many other people such as Shaheed also believe
that religion and Politics are the primary reasons of women disempowerment in
the country and all around the world.


Illiteracy is also one of the reasons of the women
disempowerment that has been seen over the years in the world. The world
literacy rates survey taken by SDPI shows the literacy rates of men as 67% and
women as 48% in Punjab alone. Both the rates declined to 58% and 22% in Baluchistan.
In Mastung District, there are many women that are not allowed to participate
in outside world and thus, they are left immobile. They don’t even have the
permission of accessing outside market for daily needs. Even though, they have
skills such as embroidery, due to lack of direct interaction with customers
they get fewer wages over their skillfully made materials. Their male family
members come forward and sell the products made by females being less expertized
and having no motivation for work.


For the achievement of women empowerment, it became mandatory
to include the human rights and the world economic forum decided to work on
this aspect of reality. Since few years, they have had repeatedly tried to
increase awareness of the need of women empowerment and the positive change it
will bring within the society in Pakistan. It would at least take increased
economic and social gender equality, equal human rights to males and females, improved
health and nutrition and good education (Zahidi 2005). There are many other
social firms such as UNIFEM that designed seven stages of achieving the goal of
women empowerment in a country. It started from promoting women in leadership
level, non-discrimination, giving proper education and employment training to
women, taking care of their security, gender equality, transparency, other
developmental aspects such as food and marketing.


It true that power comes along with empowerment but it is also
one of the complex concepts that make the women empowerment quite difficult. It
has relatively varied articulations for completely different individuals of the
country (Zulfiqar 2010). Empowerment for an individual comes in the list of impossible
things especially those that have to do with the mind-state unless we keep
finding solution at an external manner. It has been seen in history many times
that many females react differently to the similar issue irrespective of
religion and culture. Even if they have same culture and social status, their multiple
reactions to the same issue shows their varied level of perception for the
worldly things. Many females have the surrendered perception towards the values
declared by society while others stand up against them and try to dominate the
ethics and values. But at some point, it becomes mandatory to have external
factors for the growth of inner power for the achievement of women empowerment.


Being abstract, the word empowerment brings upon various
complication issues related to measurement. It never shows the wholesome
picture that is required for personal and social growth of women. But for the
broader worldview, it is mandatory to have a measurement map of empowerment
where the position of women in the world will be known. It has been a
historical phenomenon of development of several methodologies to measure the
empowerment in various ways. The certain tool that is widely used is (GGI)
Gender Gap Index since it works in such a way that four sections such as
health, political, educational and economic growth are covered.


Empowerment should be shaping the lives of mere people along
with becoming an aspect to impact the decisions of day to day life. Two other
measuring methods should be considered for empowerment issue such as (GEM) Gender
empowerment measure and (GDI) Gender-related development index which primarily
focuses for highlighting the current status in the country. GDI, however, is
used to have the measurement of certain areas of empowerment such as education,
income, or age, whereas the other one focuses more on political and economic
side of reality for the empowerment issue.


Another measurement report in 2010 stated that three should be
fixed three dimensions of measuring the inequality between men and women such
as labor-ship, empowerment and reproduction. It was done by using another
measuring index known as Gender inequality index. The GII focuses on the
sufferings faced by females in the country in various walks of their lives. These
factors can provide some basic information over the complexity of empowerment
but it fails to describe the daily problems and issues faced by women with
respect to empowerment.


Boender and Schuler (2003) suggested different perspective
towards the measurement of empowering issue presenting the newest six
dimensions such as cultural, legal, economic, personal, psychological and political
aspects of their lives. But later it was found that the practical application
of this process is more complex than previously done. The dimensions are
connected with each other and identifying their relationship is a disastrous
work. Nosheen and Chaudhary (2009) noted the same in their study and argued
about the unanswered questions regarding women empowerment issues. The measurement
issue is subtle in its form and should be clearly researched. It is not done
so, as noted by the researchers, it becomes difficult to determine the exact
specifications of the context of empowerment.


To conclude, since there are various aspects of empowerment and
it differentiates in culture and region the measurement issue should vary too. Other
aspects of life that matters in measuring this issue are married life, economy,
bank account, finances, joint family and caste or religion. But due to daunting
number of empowerment determinants it becomes impossible to capture the full
detailed analysis of the issue.


2.2 Empowerment in economy


There have had been multiple micro programs in past few years that
were developed for the possibility of progress in this context. These programs
were especially famous among social workers, governmental organizations, and other
donors. They specifically targeted women having less wage and power, no labor,
less credit to give them equal opportunity of development in the economic
field. Women’s economic development has been a topic of discussion since
various decades and this led to the change in country policy. Their current
focus is to give them credited system of economic freedom rather than financial
help since the former helps the women to become independent by being linked
with the banking field. This marks their expectations of development in the
areas of inequality.


This credit system has been the topic of discussion for
everyone around the nation. Various firms and organizations tried to have a specific
model that should be as good as banks from other countries that has credit
system successfully established for poor citizens. The micro-credit system can
be said as firmly developing methodology that has given its cooperation towards
the economic growth. This has made women feel empowered and it gave them the
productive role they desired to have in the society. This happened due to the
establishment of credit program that mostly focused on the measurement of
success to see the number of credit being delivered to the women and the level
of repayment to provide better facilities.



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