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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 4/2022

21-03-2022 | Original Paper

Inequality Regimes, Patriarchal Connectivity, and the Elusive Right to Own Land for Women in Pakistan

Author: Ghazal Mir Zulfiqar

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 4/2022

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Abstract

This study addresses the gap between policy and practice on the issue of women’s right to own rural land through a qualitative study conducted in Pakistan’s two largest provinces, Punjab and Sindh. A recent survey finds that only 4% of women own rural land in Pakistan. Given the relatively large agrarian economy, land is a key resource determining women’s agency. To understand the dynamics that maintain this status quo, I use two distinct strands of feminist theory. First is Joan Acker’s organizational theory of gender and class structures, to explore the inequality regimes embedded in rural patriarchy. Second, I adapt Suad Joseph’s conceptualization of patriarchal connectivity to show how in rural Pakistan, valorizing kinship works to exclude women from matters pertaining to land and silencing demands for their inheritances. This framework simultaneously allows for a fine-grained analysis of the politico-economic and social structures of rural society, while building an intimate understanding of familial relations. The findings show how land is discursively defined as a collective good to ensure that landed patriarchs remain entrenched within the political and economic order of the state, limiting possibilities, for women, of acquiring agency through owning and controlling rural land. The study also upends the widespread myth of Islamic misogyny, for it demonstrates the political economy of patriarchal domination over religion in Pakistan.
Footnotes
1
The rest is accounted for by small and medium-sized landholdings.
 
2
All names have been changed to protect participant identity.
 
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Metadata
Title
Inequality Regimes, Patriarchal Connectivity, and the Elusive Right to Own Land for Women in Pakistan
Author
Ghazal Mir Zulfiqar
Publication date
21-03-2022
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 4/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-022-05097-y

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