My colleagues and I spent some time in the rural areas of Badin and Shahdadpur in the Sindh province of Pakistan, to conduct initial exploratory research for a LANSA study on the impact of women’s agricultural work on nutrition. The aim of the study is to understand the trade-off women working in agriculture face between work and care and the effect that can have on nutritional outcomes. Our preliminary qualitative research consisted of interviews with women from poor households – small landowners, sharecroppers and agricultural labourers – which focused on antenatal care, infant and young child feeding, access to health care and fertility behaviour. This approach was particularly useful for observing processes, relations and norms.
Until just recently, when provincial legislatures began to legislate against domestic violence and sexual harassment at the workplace, the most progressive legislation for women in Pakistan was the Muslim Family Laws Ordinances of 1961. The MFLO passed by Ayub Khan became the bete noir of the religious right, who argued noisily that since its provisions fall in the domain of Muslim personal law, they come under Shariah and do not belong in the domain of civil law. When they were promulgated there was only the British