Accessibility of women litigating in Pakistan Family Court


BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Fall 2022

Date of Submission



Abira Ashfaq, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


While Pakistan aims to empower its women by amending obscure laws and passing new laws that formally protect women's rights in areas of gender -based violence, inheritance, and family laws, certain challenges remain that limit their access to the formal justice system. This research aims to provide a sequential overview of the challenges women face and attempts to trace the challenges at four levels: society, police, lawyers and courts. Some barriers such as lack of female staff, inadequate infrastructure and services to support women and lack of legal knowledge were found to overlap in most institutions, resulting in limited progress for women in participating in the system. In addition, women themselves are reluctant to report to or approach formal institutions because of strong cultural barriers and long, expensive procedures. Conservative and patriarchal sociocultural elements were dominant in most institutions and therefore led to discrimination against women. Recommendations include engaging Islamic scholars in promoting women's rights through awareness campaigns; political will to move from de jure to de facto equality; an enabling environment for survivors; a comprehensive training project ensuring the advancement of women in police stations; Policy-level changes led by health departments to mandate modern methods and updated medical practices for medical legal officers (MLOs); development and modernization of forensic laboratories in large cities; promoting the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) forums for appropriate cases; and the establishment of a women's infrastructure that includes sanitation facilities and women's drop-in centers in all formal institutions(Cuesta Medina, 2022); recognizing what women litigate a number of issues, not only related to marriage and divorce, but also related to domestic violence, child custody and their inheritance.


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