Analysis of Non-conventional Indicators of Gender Relations: Evidence from Pakistan

Since 1980 many developing countries have adopted two major macroeconomic strategies: Stabilisation and Structural Adjustment. A generally held view regarding the impact of these macroeconomic strategies is that it led to unemployment, low investment, decline in real wages, capital flight, rise in inequality and poverty. All these resulted in deterioration in living conditions of the poor in the short run.1 In some cases, the long run benefits, if any, of these programmes are sacrificed due to the high social costs in the short run. A number of studies, examining the impact of the observed macroeconomic impact of the Structural Adjustment Policies (StAP), report mixed impact on women. For example, on the one hand, Khan (1999) found an increasing trend in feminisation of agricultural labour2, and feminisation of poverty3 while Brown (1992), on the other hand, reports employment as a key factor in determining women’s empowerment and argues that some aspects of economic reforms hold for improvement in the long-run. The argument is based on the assumption that greater economic role for women offers protection and that employment itself mitigates against domestic violence. However, the overall effect of structural adjustment is difficult to measure as it varies across countries, across sectors, and across individuals within a household.