Women’s Financial Status, Autonomy and Household Bargaining in the Punjab: A Feminist Analysis
Keywords:Bargaining Power, Fallback Position, Inheritance, Patriarchal Culture
Household is a fundamental unit where family members collaborate and compete for resources. Pakistan is a patriarchal society where women participate and facilitate labor force participation. This research analyzed the relationship between women’s financial status, autonomy and bargaining power within the Punjabi household. The study was conducted in five districts of the Punjab (Multan, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, and Sargodha). The research respondents were having different socio-economic background, culture, religion, urban rural locations, conservative, liberal, educated and uneducated setup and families. To explore women’s bargaining experiences, qualitative research methodology was used and in-depth interviews were conducted by designing an interview guide. In-depth interviews were very helpful for the researchers to understand the dynamics and perspectives of household bargaining prevailing in urban and rural Punjab. The sample consisted of 39 women respondents and their age was between 21 to 70 years. Research findings concluded that women were having limited access to family resources but their active participation in income generating and saving activities ensured better fallback position. Due to cultural notion, rural women were having restricted access to inheritance rights but dowry was a source of up gradation in their financial status, autonomy and better participation in household bargaining. Moreover, working and elderly women were having better bargaining and fallback position in household as compared to widows and divorcees.
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