Gender injustices and discrimination are major root causes of different forms of violence against women especially in rural and urban poor. Among other factors, domestic violence against women is closely linked to forced marriages and conflicts over issues related to property and inheritance. Denying women of their fundamental rights to inheritance and consent in marriage are widespread problem in both urban and rural population of Pakistan. Awareness raising and building social pressure among communities with consistent and focused efforts can help to address problems of gender injustices.
Year 2010 of the gender justice project supported by NCA was an inception which helped to set social foundations to build local alliances and strengthen community groups in the target areas to spread key messages about women rights to raise consciousness among in communities. SAP-PK advocated with concerned Government officials, elected representatives, parliamentarians, CSOs, media and district level structures on issues of forced marriages and inheritance rights faced by the poor women. As a result local networks and community groups are now working as viable channels to harness women efforts, voices and actions for their rights and protection. In year 2011 SAP-PK will continue to sensitize local people on issues of women rights and violence in Bahawalpur and Layyah districts of Punjab province. SAP-PK will target a total of 100 villages in 10 UCs (50 villages and 5 UCs each) in Bahawalpur and Layyah districts of Punjab. Approximately 6,000 individuals (women, men, girls and boys including minorities) will be the direct beneficiaries of this project. The three main outcomes of the project in year 2011 are: community groups assist in preventing forced marriages in their target communities; more women in the community get their share of inheritance; and community groups combat gender inequality issues through collective social action in their target communities. In year 2011 the project will capitalize on the strengths built in the year 2010 and will attempt to achieve results as stated in project outcomes for year 2011. Year 2011 will evolve focused interventions to achieve some more concrete results. With strong foundation for social mobilization and awareness raising SAP-PK will continue its efforts to further build on its achievements to use potential of collective resources to mobilize and organize community groups to achieve better results. These organized groups as well as their district networks will eventually become effective support mechanism to directly address gender issues. It is therefore critical to understand that issues of justice and protection for women are deeply rooted in attitudes, practices and institutional politics of this society. It is therefore important to continue efforts to challenge these actions and practices.