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Mobility and access to services are key drivers of gendered violence in urban Pakistan


In Pakistan’s urban centres, gender and violence interact in unexpected ways and with profound consequences for the lives of both women and men, according to a study led by the Institute for Business Administration in Karachi. Based on a survey of 2,400 households, 60 interviews, and other participatory methods, the research finds that perceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman limits women’s ability to move around the city for work, school, or leisure. For example, because women have seating restrictions on public transport, they are often left stranded at the side of the road when there are no designated spaces available.  

Access to basic services such as water, sanitation, and hygiene is also a source of violence in households, with women bearing the greatest burden. A limited water supply, for example, leads to stress and higher rates of domestic violence. Violent conflicts between neighbours are often triggered when and where garbage piles up because of the city’s poor solid waste management.  

Drawing on their evidence, the research team focuses on identifying solutions to making Pakistan’s cities safer. These include strengthening women’s empowerment programs; improving public transport, solid waste disposal, and domestic water supply; developing shelters for survivors of domestic violence; and promoting nuanced reporting of gender-based violence in popular media.

These and other insights are detailed in Gender and violence in urban Pakistan (PDF, 55.8MB) by Nausheen H. Anwar, Daanish Mustafa, Amiera Sawas, and Sharmeen Malik.

Find more information and resources from the Gender and violence in urban Pakistan project.

Learn about IDRC’s Safe and Inclusive Cities initiative to reduce urban violence and inequality, in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.