The Gap between Law and Practice in Pakistan’s Gender Reform

Publication Date
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 882
Publication Authors

In the three-quarters of a century since Pakistan’s independence, parliament has adopted various laws in a bid to improve women’s legal rights. Many of these laws are a result of the efforts of women-led organizations, which have mobilized voters across the country to lobby for their passage. These changes often challenge existing norms. The pre-eminence of customary law has meant that legal progress has not translated to gender equality in practice, as matters on property, inheritance, and marriage are largely governed by customary rules which do not recognise women as being equal to men.