- Despite increases in recent years, female labor force participation in Pakistan, at 25%, is well below rates for countries with similar income levels. Even among women with high levels of education, labor force participation lags: only around 25% of women with a university degree in Pakistan are working.
- This low female labor force participation represents a major loss of potential productivity. It also has important implications for women’s empowerment, as working women are more likely to play a role in household decision making compared with nonworking women in the same villages or even in the same families.
- The study found that many women in Pakistan would like to work; there are multiple reasons why they do not. One of the key reasons—on which policy could have an effect—is that women face restrictions on their physical mobility outside the home.
- Several interconnected factors restrict women’s mobility outside the home, among them (i) social, cultural, and religious norms; (ii) safety and crime; quality of available transport services.