The position of Pashtun women is miserable in the district. Most of the women are married at a very young age. All the in-house responsibility of the house belongs to the women which includes, cleaning, child bearing, washing clothes, taking care of livestock etc. They have no status in society and often are not entitled to any sort of property or other assets. They are also bounded by religious and cultural restrictions. The Pashtun community in the region is very sensitive when it comes to issues related to women. They make a concerted effort to get the girl married as soon as possible.
5.1 Status of Women
In Pishin District, the role of women in the decision-making process is negligible13. However, in the case of marriage their opinion is taken into account. She is also authorized to make decisions pertaining to domestic activities, such as cooking or maintaining the house. The inhabitants of Pishin district are Muslims. Yet the majority does not allow women to inherit, which is allowed to them by Islamic inheritance law.
A woman at the household level is limited to certain activities such as cooking, washing, managing the house and raising the children14. At the community level their role is negligible or marginal in social as well as economic activities. Similarly, the women of district Pishin do not play any role whatsoever in politics. However, a very small number of women cast their vote by permission and under the instruction of their husbands.
In Khanozai town, a rural area, there has been some improvement in the role of women due to a better literacy rate15. The Social Welfare Department has organized training for some women‟s organizations in income generating activities.
5.2 Health Care
Only 20 percent of women reported having Tetanus injections. While an insignificant percentage of women reported post-natal care, about 42 percent of women confirmed pre-natal consultation. Child delivery at home is reported by about 69 percent of households of rural areas and 47 percent in urban areas.
The population of the district is generally poor and due to high malnutrition, poor living conditions, inadequate health care and high fertility, they experience high levels of mortality and morbidity16. The vulnerable groups including women and children are particularly at risk. For every 1,000 live births, 59 babies do not survive up to their first birthday and another 12 die before reaching the age of 5 years.
Marriages in district Pishin are arranged. Spouses are always selected by the parents, both for men and women17. Vulvar (price paid to the bride’s family for purchases of ornaments, articles of household etc.) is commonly paid to the bride’s family.
The vulvar (as price) paid depends upon: a) Family’s background of bride and bridegroom, b) Beauty of the bride and her other qualities, c) Whether the bride is a virgin or a widow, d) Whether it is an exchange marriage.
5.4 Local Government Representation
13District Development Profile 2011, Pishin District, Planning and Development Department, GOB
14District Development Profile 2011, op. cit.
15Pishin, Integrated Development Vision, IUCN, Balochistan Program Office
16District Development Profile 2011, op. cit.
17District Development Profile 2011, op. cit.
District Profile Pishin
There are 38 UCs in Pishin18. The UCs constitute a District Council, in which each UC is represented by one member in the District Council. In addition, there is special representation of women (33 percent) and of workers and peasants (5 percent).
5.5 Women in Politics
Women also have reserved seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies19. Women also have reserved seats in local governments; this has initiated a process of change that will hopefully be continued and strengthened in the forthcoming local government legislation.
5.6 Computerized National Identity Cards
Facilitating Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) implementation as it provides financial incentives for women to register for the Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC)20. This is the first step towards empowerment of women. Pishin District Government is committed to the 100 percent registration of women for the CNIC and Census.
Women are involved in the agricultural activities but within the walls of their houses21. Some aged women take part in agricultural activities outside their home, but they are not paid. At the time of sowing and harvesting, the demand for seasonal labor increases and male labor is employed on daily wages for this purpose. Female labor involvement in the agriculture and horticulture sector is negligible.
Women and children are engaged in supervision and management of livestock activities such as grazing, watering, feeding, cleaning the abodes and curing of livestock by traditional methods; however, children’s involvement affects their schooling22. Women are also involved in making home dairy products such as yogurt, butter and ghee which are mostly used within the family.
In Pishin District, traditional handicrafts like embroidery work on dresses (Kameez and Shalwar)of children and women, on caps, beds and pillow covers are very common. Women and girls do the embroidery work at home. It also includes making sweaters from sheep’s wool.
5.10 Social Welfare Organizations
Pishin district has over 42 registered NGOs23. Their scope of work includes: socio-economicdevelopment and poverty alleviation, awareness raising, capacity building, education, health, gender development, environment protection, women and children‟s welfare. “Idara-e-Taraqiat-Niswan Bostan Welfare Organization” established Training and Rehabilitation Centers for Poor Women.