“There is not a woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence”- Susan Brownell Anthony.
The aforementioned pronouncement ubiquitously reverberates within patriarchal hamlets of Pakistan and the palatial castles of Americas. The Nobel laureate Claudia Goldin accentuated the catalysts for gendered disparity in emoluments for the remunerative work. The substantiated proposition of her learned study, spanning upon the period of two centuries, forwarded the catalysts for economic disenfranchisement of women to the fore.
Premised upon the traditions of yore, where the plausible prospects of pregnancy before the marriage of couples, resulted in out-of-wedlock conceptions for many a youth in occidental states.
The consequential pavement towards nuptial engagement of the couples precluded the educational journey of women who were still under the aegis of institutional pedagogy. This phenomenon saddled the cart of Reproductive Labour upon the vocationally incapacitated shoulders of women and degenerated their potential of progress.
The cause for concern is the structural prematurity of familial engagements as women who “married early enough that their adult identity was formed after marriage” become fodder for suppression as their dependence became pronounced.
Contrastingly, the circumstances which enforced the resignation of women from remunerative realms were only averted with the policy recalibrations of these states. Claudia Goldin states, “The revolutionary part of the process was preceded by fundamental, long run, and evolutionary changes that were necessary” for the actualization of pecuniary parity among the genders.
The introduction of birth-control drugs obliterated the eventualities of gratuitous inceptions. Thus, the hitherto pregnancies, serving as catalysts for matrimonial covenants, relegated to the structural insignificance.
This obviation to familial obligations yielded women ample opportunity to sculpt their occupational façade and recant their financially futile liabilities. Ergo, the prospects of vocational egality among genders graduated to plausible echelons.
These findings offer insights into the antechambers required for the advancement of females to the pecuniary parallels of their male counterparts. These findings remain vibrant for the northern hemisphere of The Brandt Line, yet the idiosyncrasies of oriental arenas warrant their reconceptualization. Capitalising upon the bankable repositories of research, Pakistan can elicit socially compatible fumes for recuperation of its ailing wounds of gender pay gap.
Pakistan, ignominiously utilizes, relationally infinitesimal, 25% of its precious female capital for its workforce. These estimations of Asian Development Bank bear testimony to the inveterate chasms separating women from men in the field of productive contributions to their state.
These statistics are not merely insinuating to the drainage of resource by redundancy of their former consumers- in form of attaining education; a luxury in this country, but this is a resplendent reminder of the prospects of harnessing these human jewels for aggrandisement of nation’s economic salience. As Claudia notes, “passive actors, who take the income and time allocation of other members” must be amphibiously acclimatized to the gusts of national insolvency and waves of individual socio-political insignificance.
Germanely, Pakistan houses the sixth largest number of child brides, married before the age of 18. The World Bank has pertinently prophesized that developing counties would bear the formidable burden of “trillion of dollars” by 2030 if they retain their reprehensible repudiation of human, women too, rights.
These statistics represent individual lives of millions of beleaguered girls and daunted female disciples, harbouring abortively ardent anticipations for ascendancy and development yet assigned to domestic margins for labour which yields indiscernible returns.
This calls for introspection of causes in Pakistan which derail the locomotives of women development from the tracks of workforce inclusion. The paramount culprit remains the early marriages that, when materialized in infancy coupled with embryonic cognitions, summarily relegate women to the dungeons of irrelevance.
To decouple the foregoing argument from being viewed as reductionist, it is fructuous to quote Claudia as she states, “increase in participation and the greater number of hours worked by women was a critical prerequisite for the transition (of women) from” passive consumers of revenue to vibrant contributor to the economy.
The disparity in the contexts of western states and Pakistan comes to the fore in terms of the catalyst of the marriage. Where the laissez-faire (liberalism) allows the introduction of women’s agency to arrange the totem pole of their lives by themselves, the practicality of contraceptives impeding their matrimonial culminations becomes axiomatic.
Inharmoniously, the stimulant for marriage in Pakistan is the agency of the patriarchal traditions. The cultivated synonymity of women with strategic chattels allow the society to devour upon their rights for dividends of strengthening familial bonds, portraying power over progenies, settling disputes, replenishing the coffers of patriarchy, returning the erstwhile relational favours, and to resile from the financial responsibilities of the impending victims.
To contextualize Claudia Goldin’s work, the objective is similar to that of western states; to decelerate the incidence of child marriage so the developing female humans are allowed the space to grow and consequentially exact their share from their very productive albeit contemporarily mutilated hands.
Thus, their emancipation from infantile captivity would result in “substitution elasticity of labour supply to eventually grow” and the income disparity to become abridged.