Overlapping Discursive Terrains of Culture, Law and Women’S Rights: An Exploratory Study on Legal Pluralism at Play in Pakistan
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE: DEMOCRACY, TRADITION, GENDER, J. Bennett, ed., pp.77-100, Lahore: Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2007
25 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2009
Date Written: 2007
This paper argues that plural regulatory frameworks (‘laws’ broadly defined) including religion, culture, customs, tradition as well as ‘formal’ law (national and international) informing women’s human rights, collude to create and perpetuate gender hierarchies. Whilst ‘informal’ norms of culture, custom and tradition expressly advance this position, gender neutral laws adopted by the state and her institutions are suspect, as these too, operate within a male socio-legal and political environment. Using the example of Pakistan, the paper attempts to present the contours of an analytical framework for mounting a challenge to plural legal systems from the perspective of women’s lived experiences and realities of their being.
Keywords: gender neutral laws, Pakistan, human rights
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