11- An Analysis of Sociocultural Barriers on Social Empowerment of Women in Sahiwal Division
The paper sets out to discuss impact of socio-cultural barriers on social empowerment of rural women in term of decision making related to their personal as well as social life in Sahiwal division. Pakistan is a patriarchal society characterized by patri-local residence and exclusion of women from the right of inheritance and succession, which pave ways for male-headed society. In addition, socio-cultural factors strongly favour male-dominance and an inferior status of females in all walks of life. A quantitative approach was adopted for carrying out current study. A survey instrument was designed and employed for data collection from 384 respondents from rural areas of Sahiwal division. The findings of the study revealed that less than one third (31.25%) of the respondents were consulted in decision-making about domestic matters. Likewise, more than half (51.8%) of the respondents were not independent in moving out of home for meeting any social need. Similarly, more than one third (41.4%) of the respondents were not free to visit their friends in the neighborhood. The study concludes that women in the rural areas are less empowered and still suffering socially, economically and psychologically in their day to day life. The study provides an insight for professional social workers, policy makers and stakeholders in public and private sectors for influencing policy-making and planning for revisiting and redesigning existing policies and plans intended for empowerment of rural women in Pakistan.