Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Patriarchy, Gender Violence and Poverty amongst Pakistani Women: A Social Work Inquiry

In Pakistani, patriarchal Muslim society, women are vulnerable to different types of violence; however there is a strong class component. Research findings exposed the relationship between patriarchy, poverty and gender violence. Poverty appears to be the direct cause of gender violence as it creates a stressful cycle. Women from low income families were economically dependent, having less access to educational facilities and suffered from poverty as well as violence. They were victims of violence but some of them ironically accepted that their disobedience although from their personal point of view was legitimate has become a cause to be at the receiving end of both verbal abuse and physical violence. Poor women used different strategies to cope with their poverty and patriarchal structure utilized violence against women as a most powerful tool to control women’s sexuality. Women were prone to face physical, psychological and social violence against them. To eradicate poverty and control violence, it is important to understand it’s psychological, social and gender aspects. It is also important to educate and empower women to promote economic, social and gender equalities as well as to improve the social structure. Social Work as enabling/ empowering profession can be used to solve the problems and restore the abilities by providing correctional and intervention services for those women who by sheer force of circumstances fall into the hands of anti-social elements and later on disowned by their family. Social work practitioners are needed to consider the dynamics of victimization and powerlessness in gender relations because empowerment oriented social work practice can focus on victim’s strengths, adaptive skills and competencies to resolve their problems related to poverty as well as violence.

Maliha Gull Tarar1Department of Social Work, Ghazali Block, University of Sargodha,, Sargodha, Pakistan,
Venkat Pulla,Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, DC, Qld, Australia

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