SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

The Women's Movement in Pakistan: Activism, Islam and Democracy

IMG - Women's movement in Pakistan
Ayesha Khan

Date: 26 September 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 26 September 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: BGLT

Type of Event: Book Launch


Ayesha's book details the history of women’s social, legal and political status in Pakistan as contested through its urban-based modern women’s movement. Since the 1980s, a small but influential group of activists have been advocating for their rights, the restoration of democracy, and a secular state. This began in response to the state’s growing use of Islam for political purposes, which peaked under General Zia ul-Haq’s military rule (1977-88), during which the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan and rise of political Islam worked in favor of his domestic policy of Islamization. Pakistan became an increasingly exclusionary state, with religious minorities and women facing growing discrimination. Despite setbacks, such as another period of military rule and rise of the Taliban, activists succeeded in winning back some of their rights. Recent years have seen unprecedented legislative reform, policy changes to reverse discrimination, and the first substantial increase in women's political participation.

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute