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Khatwani, Mukesh Kumar.pdf (3.66 MB)

Professional women’s perceptions & experiences of respectability, social status, and autonomy: a case study of women employed at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Sindh-Pakistan

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posted on 2023-06-09, 04:21 authored by Mukesh Kumar Khatwani
This thesis aims to explore the perceptions and experiences of professional women at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro-Pakistan (UoSJP), regarding their respectability and social status in the workplace and in the community. Additionally, the thesis elaborates on professional women’s perceptions and experiences regarding their autonomy and independence, which they have supposedly achieved through their university education and gainful employment. The major contribution of the thesis is that it addresses the lack of feminist research on professional women in the context of the ongoing debate over gender equality in Sindh, Pakistan. This thesis, by using feminist standpoint theory and intersectionality as theoretical and analytical tools, emphasises multiple identities, rather than focusing on a single dimension of social difference. Additionally, this thesis, by employing a Bourdieusian framework (economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital), explores and examines professional women’s identities in relation to their particular spatial locations, as well as the ways that social capital and institutionalised cultural capital intersect with their social and familial backgrounds to produce complex hierarchies. The research asserts that women’s higher-ranking position (socially accepted) also has a potential influence on their respectability, social status and autonomy in the workplace and in the community. Because it plays a significant role in establishing influential social networking, which further increases women’s symbolic capital. Thus, the thesis explores and establishes links between the respectability, social status, autonomy and independence of these professional women, and the intersection of potential influencing factors (for example, patriarchy, class, caste, familial and educational backgrounds, locale and employment). The thesis, then, discusses how professional women negotiate their multiple identities within certain defined spheres while upholding or regulating the respectability, dignity and ‘family honour’ that is linked to their modesty (sexuality). The thesis claims that ‘collectivity’ is the social ethic or essence of Pakistani society, while ‘individuality’ has been socially and culturally dishonoured and/or disapproved. Therefore, these professional women, understanding and attributing meanings to these concepts in local context, observed their ‘limited’ or ‘defined autonomy’, which is influenced by many potential intersecting factors rather than their gender and/or patriarchy.


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  • eng


University of Sussex

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