Homemaker or breadwinner: labour force participation of Pakistani women. By: Zulfiqar, Asma; Kuskoff, Ella; Povey, Jenny and Baxter, Janeen. 2024. Community, Work & Family. p1-20.

In recent years, Pakistan has seen an increase in policy efforts to encourage women’s participation in the workforce. However, existing research suggests that these policies have not resulted in a proportional increase in women’s labour force participation. This study employs an ecological systems approach to investigate the factors that impact the engagement of tertiary-educated Pakistani women in the labour market and their experiences of employment. Beyond elucidating the barriers to women’s employment, the
analysis also delves into factors that empower women to navigate the obstacles encountered in their employment journey. Drawing upon a series of comprehensive interviews conducted with 35 Pakistani women and employing a thematic analysis approach, this research dissects the way in which societal norms and values, including notions of honour, the prioritisation of marriage, and the enduring presence of gender inequality within the domestic sphere, constrain women’s participation in the labour market. Our findings show that the support extended by father’s and husband’s in facilitating women’s pursuit of employment, as well as the personal strategies adopted by women to overcome gender-based discrimination in workplace settings, are pivotal elements that facilitate women’s participation in the labour market.