Non-Muslim women in Pakistan face harassment (Lead)March 16th, 2012 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, March 16 (IANS) Two-thirds of non-Muslim Pakistani women were sexually harassed and 43 percent suffered religious discrimination at workplaces, a study said.
Around 27 percent of Hindu and Christian women faced discrimination in admission to educational institutions and were forced to take Islamic studies for absence of any alternative subject, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) said.
A study conducted by the commission with rights activists, media and people from various walks of life has just been released, its executive director Peter Jacob was quoted as saying.
The research, based on interviews with women from minority communities, was led by Jennifer Jag Jivan and Jacob and assessed by Asiya Nasir, Ernestine C. Pinto and Pushpa Kumari.
Jacob said the study looked into social, political and economic conditions of “minority women” in 26 districts of Punjab and Sindh, the two provinces where 95 percent of minorities in Pakistan live.
As many as 1,000 Hindu and Christian women were interviewed.
The study looked into issues such as legal disparity, laws concerning minorities, religious and gender biases, forced conversions that affected everyday life of minority women.
During the study, it was found that only 47 percent of minority women were educated, lower than the national average — 57 percent.
He said the living and economic conditions of women, assessed through income, savings, health and education, placed Hindu and Christian women on the margins of social and economic development.
Though 55 percent of minority women saw the social environment as conducive to multi-religious living, around 62 percent of respondents were of the view that in the wake of a religious disturbance, a majority of people would not stand with them.
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