Research Critique: Duality of Female Employment in Pakistan

Farida Naz
3 April, 2014
The research “Duality of Female Employment in Pakistan” by Shahnaz Kazi and Bilquees Raza try to collect information about patterns of female employment in Pakistan while analyzing, “the context of supply and demand factors influencing women’s participation in the labour market” (733, Kazi et al) of Pakistan. The motivation of research was pure because the researchers analyzed the data about female employment in labour market for the sake of knowledge and the outcomes of this research were not applied for the welfare of women’s employment. The theoretical framework utilized in this research was ethnomethodology because the data provides an unambiguous structure of women’s participation in the labour market. For example, the female workers were grouped into different categories according to their socio-economic status such as, “women from the more privileged classes in Pakistan take up professional jobs” and “women from the poorest strata are pushes into labour market” (739).
The researchers did not use any pervious theory or study to conduct this research, therefore; the research design is inductive. Moreover, this research has also explored a new hypothesis. Findings of this research show a high trend of duality in participation of female workers in labour market because most of the working women in Pakistan are coming from “the top and bottom end of the socio-economic scale” (738). From these findings researchers come up with the following hypothesis: “access to education and work options vary for women belonging to different socio-economic strata” (738). The purpose of this research was an explorative because researchers have made an initial rough understanding about female participation in labour market of Pakistan by collecting and examining the available data. However, the final hypothesis was explanatory because it relates different variables and relationship between different phenomenon to understand the research work more deeply. For instance, the results explains the disadvantaged position of women in labour market while relating it with different factors such as, “cultural restrictions, household responsibilities, and low levels of education and skills” (739).
Looking for conceptualization in this research, we can see that researchers have focus on two main concepts: demand considerations and supply considerations of women’s participation in labour market. Both demand considerations and supply considerations have nominal definitions because researchers have defined these concepts according to certain context without using any preexisting definition. According to researchers, Kazi and Raza, demand consideration: “Demand-side constraints to female employment are, to some extent, a part of the general problem of low levels of labour absorption in the economy” (735). And they explain supply constraints as, “cultural prescriptions of women’s roles appropriateness are changing as more women are being pushed into the labour market because of dire necessity” (737). Here, demand and supply of women in labour market is defined according to the particular context: Pakistan, without consulting any existing definitions, therefore; these definitions are nominal.
This research was operationalized after collecting and analyzing data from different time periods about women’s participate in labour market, which is explained in the following table.

S. No# Key Variables Types of Variables Attributes Level of Measurement
1. Type of work Independent 1.White collar jobs
2. Blue collar jobs
2. Socio-economic Status of Employees Independent 1. Upper class
2. Middle class
3. Lower class Ordinal
3. Female’s participation in labour market Dependent 1. Cultural restrictions
2. Household responsibilities
3. Low levels of education and skills Nominal
4. Income Dependent 1. Professional jobs
2. Informal jobs
3. Government jobs Interval
Table No1: Elements of Operationalization
The unit of analysis is the women who are working in labour market and units of observation are as follow:
1. Labour Force Survey Data
2. Population Census, Government of Pakistan
3. Agricultural Census
4. World Bank Data
Overall, data is collected from both macro and micro levels. Data from Population Census and World Bank are examples of macro level data collection because data is collected from larger scale. And data from labour Force Survey and Agricultural Census are examples of micro level data collection since; they only focused on particular groups in particular areas of Pakistan. The time design used in this research was trend because data was collected and analyzed from different time points, but not necessary from the same people. For instance, the expansion of female employment estimated as, “an annual average growth of 8 percent since 1971-72” (736) and “an average annual growth rate of 6 percent between 1978-79 and 1984-85” (736).
The researchers, Kazi and Raza have used qualitative research method because it is explorative research which aimed to get more knowledge and information about the causes related to research topic. Further, Kazi and Raza used nominal definition for their key concepts, they get their hypothesis at the end of research work, and they used data collecting method for observations which are characteristics of qualitative research method. Moreover, researchers did not use extensive numerical data, tables, and graphs; rather they have explained data in terms of economic class. This research has nomothetic approach because researchers did not study all the aspects and reasons related to duality of female employment in Pakistan. Further, researchers have mainly focused on few main dimensions related to supply and demand of female workers in labour market such as, socio-economic class and cultural restrictions. Many other important dimensions related to study topic were ignored for instance, status of women in society, gender discrimination, women’s rights and etc in that particular context.
Population of the study for this research was all female workers in Pakistan since1971 to 1989 and the sample was the available data collected by different organizations. The sampling method of this research was simple random selection because they just take random cases from different time periods in different context. The authors try to achieve reliability with the help of conducting micro level research by their own and compare those research results with the one already done by the other organizations. After compared the two different data collections researchers found that, “women’s participation is greatly underestimated in official statistics” (733) which creates a problem in validity of the research. To make their research less bias and to gain validity researchers have mention all the problems related to data collection such as, “unsuitable methods of data collection, inappropriate definitions of activities and stress on recording only one activity, and the cultural inhibition” (733).
Regarding ethics researchers did not cause harm to any individuals and moreover researchers have just used data they did not study any individual who may concern about his/her confidentiality. The politics of this research is controversial because, “Labour Force Survey data have shown negligible increase in female participation over nearly two decades” whereas “findings from micro studies from urban areas which point to an increasing influx of women workers particularly in informal sector” (734). Women who are not shown in the list of government data collections are not given all the benefits which enlisted employees are receiving. Now, a big ethical and political question is emerging from these findings. Why governmental organizations did not report the actual list of women employees? Who is responsible for misreporting data about women employees? Why authorities are not taking any action? Etc. Therefore, the findings of this research are quite sensitive regarding political considerations.
The conclusions of this study highlights the following three very important issues related to women’s participation in the Labour market.
1. Most of the working women are coming from either the top or the bottom end of the socio-economic class (738).
2. Low level of women labour absorption is caused by attitudinal barriers because “women are not considered suitable for certain jobs” (739).
3. Keeping women out of regular employment is also “the outcome of a deliberate policy of exploiting a cheap source of labour” (739).
The conclusions of this research have clear results which are easy to understand and also sound persuasive. The study under discussions did not cover many unreported data, therefore; we can say that these conclusions may be somehow over generalized by authors.
Further, if we look at the strengths of this research in the beginning of this study researchers have describe all the limitations of reported data used in this study. Which is very important to lessen biasness of research work. Researchers have also published the political drawbacks and malfunction of government organizations which causes resistance for women to get job. One of the weaknesses may be that the key concepts of this research work were supply and demand of female workers in labour market. Though researchers highlight some very important things related to duality of female employment in Pakistan, discussions about demand and supply of women in labour market is very less which might have focused more.

Works Cited
Kazi, Shahnaz. “Duality of Female Employment in Pakistan [with Comments].” The Pakistan
Development Review 30.4, Papers and Proceedings PART II Seventh Annual General
Meeting of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists Islamabad, January 8-10,
1991 (1991): 733-43. JSTOR. Web. 02 Apr. 2014.


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