Inequality Regimes, Patriarchal Connectivity, And Women’s Right To Property Inheritance In Rural Pakistan

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Ishaq Ahmad , Amir Alam , Najib Khan and Rahat Ullah


This study addresses the issue of women’s right to property inheritance on account of cultural, ideological and legal impediments through a qualitative study carried out in Jandul Sub-division lower Dir, Pakistan. Land, as a prevalent economic asset, determines women’s agency and well-being, however,  rural women lack this most valuable resource owing to gender and class structures embedded in pastoral society, which, in turn, determines customary dogmatism, religious obscurantism and legal pluralism that lead to women’s exclusion from land inheritance and possession. This research presents a fine-grained analysis of these important factors/perceptions and argues that through the government’s failure to comply with constitutional and Shariah laws in the rural region, the underlying disparity regimes are deeply entrenched in the rural setup and establish socioeconomic hierarchical order. They discursively demarcate land as a collective good, restraining the prospect for women to acquire agency through owning and controlling land. The findings suggest that government should handle these challenges by implementing the reshape and renovate policies of women’s inheritance rights in rural areas with letter and spirit to dismantle gender and class structures to bridge the gender gap in the control of property to contribute towards realizing gender socioeconomic equality in society. The paper employs purposive sampling for data collection and uses thematic analysis that identifies and analyzes themes within qualitative data analysis approaches.

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