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Legal Framework of Feminism in Pakistan

By: Maira Nadeem

The legal framework regarding feminism in Pakistan involves various legislation and constitutional provisions anticipated at promoting gender equality, protecting women’s rights, and addressing gender-based discrimination.

Liberal feminism, Radical feminism, Black feminism, Marxist and Social feminism, Cultural feminism, Eco-feminism and Global feminism are kinds of feminism.

The Constitution of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan that also deal the gender equality, which is the element of feminism. It guarantees that all are equal in the eyes of law and protections to all citizens, including women. It explicitly forbid discrimination on the basis of gender and assures equality before the law. Article 25 of the Constitution states that all citizens are equal before the law and shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, color and gender. Articles 25(3) and 26(2) allows the state to make special laws for the protection of women. This constitutional provision forms the basis for gender equality and provides a legal framework for feminist advocacy in Pakistan.

The legal framework for feminism in Pakistan includes various laws that defined women’s rights, gender-based violence, and discrimination. One of the important legislations in Pakistan is the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010. This law gives the protection of working women. This legislation was enacted to address workplace harassment and provides a legal support for preventing and redressing complaints of harassment against female in both public and private sectors.

The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) is important component of the legal framework that defined offenses against women. The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) provide protections for women and criminalize various forms of abuse and violence. For example, Section 299 deals with the crime of murder, including the killing of women and Section 302 defines the punishment for murder, which can be the death penalty or life imprisonment. Section 354 deals with the assault or criminal for a woman with the intent to outrage her virtue or modesty.

Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 is an important legislation governing divorce proceedings for Muslim female. It provides legal support to women who can seek divorce, including cruelty and abuse. The act aims to protect the fundamental rights of Muslim female and assure their well-being within the framework of Islamic law. The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2011 specifically deals the cases of acid attacks against women. It imposes strict punishments and also provide medical service and

compensation to victims. This legislation acknowledges the unique challenges faced by women and aim to address the prevalence of acid attacks, which have severe physical, spiritual, psychological, and social consequences.

The Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act, 2016 is a significant legislation specific to the province of Punjab. While it is limited to one province and it provides safety or protection for women against all forms of violence. Including domestic violence, psychological abuse, stalking, and cybercrime. Violence is not acceptable in any circumstances.

While these legislation efforts to protect women’s rights and promote gender equality. These legislation must be implemented and enforced by law. Socio-cultural factors and awareness pose barriers to effective implementation. There is a need or requirement for continued advocacy to assure the effective enforcement of the legal framework. In addition, feminist activism and civil organizations play an important role in advocating for gender equality and raising awareness. Their work shows the realities which is faced by women in Pakistan. These organizations engage in advocacy, provide legal support and promote public awareness to advance the feminist agenda.

In conclusion, the legal framework regarding feminism in promoting gender equality, protecting women’s rights, and addressing gender-based discrimination. Women should know about their social and legal rights. It is essential to assure the effective implementation of the legal framework and the realization of gender equality in Pakistan.

The writer is a law student. She can be reached at [email protected]

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