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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Rest in power, Asma Jahangir

by Ayesha Khan


Asma Jahangir's funeral, 13th February 2018, Lahore, Pakistan
Picture credits: Rabia Mehmood

The untimely death of human rights defender Asma Jahangir has dealt a body blow to the Pakistani women’s movement and the peoples’ struggle for political empowerment. Most of those who attended her funeral yesterday in Lahore were less familiar with her international human rights profile and record as a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations in conflict-affected areas of the world. Those who came mourned her passing because she had fought for each one of their causes.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Extending agricultural policies to women

By Hussain Bux Mallah

Women picking cotton in Sanghar
Photo credit: Collective team

Pakistan’s employment trends show a steady feminization of the agricultural sector. Almost three-fourths of the female labour force is employed in agriculture, and the proportion of women working in agriculture has increased more than 10 percent from 2001-02 to 2012-13. However, the agriculture sector is not very friendly to women, especially to pregnant and/or lactating mothers. The health status of mothers working as agricultural labour and their children is alarming. Women who work in agriculture are far more likely to be underweight and to have children who are wasted and stunted than women who do not work in agriculture.  According to DHS 2012-13, out of all mothers who are working in the agriculture sector, 29 percent are underweight, 13 percent of their children are wasted and 52 percent are stunted.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Empathy for everyone?

By Marium Ibrahim

Is empathic connection only possible with those similar to us?
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

One of the common threads throughout my fieldwork experiences while working at the Collective is related to the dynamics between groups of different social standings. A Muhajir woman in Karachi, while talking about the sanitation system in her area, said that usually everyone keeps the area clean, except for the Bengalis who have their children throw trash on the streets in front of other people’s houses. In a village in Sanghar, people from a mainstream Soomro community talked about how people from a neighboring socially marginalized Nohri community were uncooperative and difficult to deal with.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Invisible work, visible harm

by Amna Akhtar

Panelists at Annual Conference on Rural Women Day (from left to right): Ms. Akeela Naz, Ms. Kaukab Jehan, Dr. Huma Qureshi, Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Ms. Sabiha Nazeer and Ms. Benazir Jatoi

Pakistan relies heavily on agriculture and livestock for subsistence. Yet, over half of the children in rural areas do not achieve their growth potential (stunting) and every sixth child is too thin (wasted). Those responsible for most of this produce, the female agricultural workers, have some of the poorest health and nutrition outcomes. How is this possible and what can we do to remedy this situation?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Karachi's knifeman can stab us, not silence us

by Noorulain Masood


Photo credit:Wikipedia commons

Between September 25 and October 5 this year, 13 women were stabbed on the streets of Karachi's District East. A man whizzed past on a red motorcycle, slapping them on the lower body and stabbing them with a sharp instrument. The media became captivated with these incidents; police started looking for the 'mad man' behind the violence. Similar events were recalled in Punjab, between 2013 and 2016.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Ag-nutrition policy: Where are the women?

By Saba Aslam

Panel discussion at the ANH 2017 symposium
Photo credits: Collective Team

How can nutritional outcomes of women agricultural workers and their children be improved through interventions in the agriculture sector? What has worked for countries in the South Asian region? What more should policies do in countries where agriculture sector forms the economic backbone but nutrition remains low or stagnant? These questions were discussed in a policy dialogue organised by Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) on “Recognition, Rights and Wellbeing of Women Agricultural Workers in South Asia” at the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Symposium held in July. The panel had activists and policy makers from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and was moderated by Ms. Rachel Lambert, Senior Livelihoods Advisor in Department for International Development’s (DFID) UK Agriculture research team. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Sustainable Farming Systems for Food and Nutrition Security

By Alan Dangour

Female agricultural workers picking vegetables in Mirpurkhas
Photo credit: Waseem Gazdar


The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition call on all countries to end hunger and prevent malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. This is quite a challenge, and it is a challenge with sustainable agriculture and food systems at its very heart.