Open Access Journal Article

The dynamics of traditions and women’s employment: Evidence from a developing country

by Safdar Ullah Khan a,* orcid Arthur H. Goldsmith b orcid  and  Gulasekaran Rajaguru a orcid
a
Bond Business School, Bond University, Queensland, Australia
b
Department of Economics, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 June 2023 / Accepted: 23 July 2023 / Published: 14 August 2023

Abstract

The workforce participation rate, and hence the level of employment, for women in Pakistan is among the lowest in South Asia – standing at 25 percent in 2023. Conventional explanations attribute this to poor skills and cultural norms of families and society at large. Empirical work has established that low levels of education, and community attitudes regarding gender roles, hinder women's labor force participation. Ethnographic work suggests that household rules – family culture – on who makes decisions about opportunities for married women to work outside of the home for pay – profoundly impact female employment. This is due to the limited availability of data pertaining to explicit assessments of familial traditions that are pertinent to women's participation in the workforce beyond their domestic sphere. Drawing on data from the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM): 2005-2006 – which provides information, from married women, on who in the family decides if they can work – we address this shortcoming in the literature. We find that in families where the decision lies clearly, and exclusively, in the hands of males, married women are 18-19 percent less likely to be employed than if the family culture is for married women – alone – to make this decision. Moreover, this is a much larger deterrent to work than poor education and residential location.


Copyright: © 2023 by Khan, Goldsmith and Rajaguru. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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ACS Style
Khan, S. U.; Goldsmith, A. H.; Rajaguru, G. The dynamics of traditions and women’s employment: Evidence from a developing country. Economic Analysis Letters, 2023, 2, 40. https://doi.org/10.58567/eal02040006
AMA Style
Khan S U, Goldsmith A H, Rajaguru G. The dynamics of traditions and women’s employment: Evidence from a developing country. Economic Analysis Letters; 2023, 2(4):40. https://doi.org/10.58567/eal02040006
Chicago/Turabian Style
Khan, Safdar U.; Goldsmith, Arthur H.; Rajaguru, Gulasekaran 2023. "The dynamics of traditions and women’s employment: Evidence from a developing country" Economic Analysis Letters 2, no.4: 40. https://doi.org/10.58567/eal02040006
APA style
Khan, S. U., Goldsmith, A. H., & Rajaguru, G. (2023). The dynamics of traditions and women’s employment: Evidence from a developing country. Economic Analysis Letters, 2(4), 40. https://doi.org/10.58567/eal02040006

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