Role of women in decision making: a case study of Pakhtuns of Tehkal, Peshawar, Pakistan
Keywords:decision making, women’s decision making, patriarchy, women empowerment, Pakhtun households, family planning, household expenditure, power dynamics
This paper discusses women's decision-making role in the affluent patriarchal households of Pakhtuns. The patriarchy is popularly believed to be an impediment for women to participate in decision-making at the household level. The study analyses the participation of women in decision-making related to children's spouse selection, education and health, and family planning. The study also focused on women's role in decision-making related to household expenditure and the purchase of household items and immovable property. The study was qualitative, and participant observation and in-depth interviews were used as data collection tools. The study found that women's age, education, marital status, marriage duration, and family structure determine women's decision-making. The study reveals that despite the patriarchal system of households in affluent Pakhtun households, women participated in the decisions making. They participated in decision-making related to children's health, education, and selection of the spouse for their children. Women had a say in family planning. They also participated in the decisions related to household expenditure and purchasing household items. Participation of women in decisions related to the purchase of immovable items was limited.
Abu-Lughod, L. (1993). Writing women’s worlds. Bedouin Stories.
Ahmad, A. S. (1980). Pukhtun economy and society: traditional structure and economic development in a tribal society. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Alam, D. (2012). Women role and status in Pukhtoon society (a case study of village Sufaid Dheri, Peshawar). International Journal of Learning and Development, 2(3), 313-324. http://doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v2i3.1971
Bachrach, P., & Baratz, M. S. (1963). Decisions and nondecisions: an analytical framework. The American Political Science Review, 57(3), 632-642. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1952568
Barth, F. (1959). Segmentary opposition and the theory of games: a study of Pathan organization. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 89(1), 5-21. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2844433
Bilal, M., & Ahmad, A. (2018). Political reforms and women political participation in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 2(2), 67–80. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/2.2.8
Blood, R. O. (1969). Marriage (Second Edition). The Free Press, Collier-Macmillan. https://archive.org/details/marriage0000robe
Blood, R. O. J., & Wolfe D. M. (1960). Husband and wives: the dynamics of married living (Glencoe III). Free Press. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1963-01527-000
Boas, F. (1975). Kwakiutl Ethnology. University of Chicago. https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7415412M/Kwakiutl_Ethnography
Brinkerhoff, M., & Lupri, E. (1978). Theoretical and methodological issues in the use of decision-making as an indicator of conjugal power: some Canadian observations. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 3(1), 1-20. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3339790
Chagnon, N. (1986). Yanomamo social organization and aggression. Garden City. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.239.4843.985
Chanda, S. K., Howlader, H., & Nahar, N. (2012). Educational status of the married women and their participation at household decision making in rural Bangladesh. International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology, 1(6), 137-146. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012IJART...1f.137C
Cromwell, R., & Olson, D. (Eds.). (1975). Power in families. John Wiley. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1976-27794-000
Dahl, R. A. (1957). The concept of power. Behavioral Science, 1(1), 201-218. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bs.3830020303
Evans-Pritchard, E. E., & Fortes, M. (1940). Los Nuer del sur de Sudán. In R. Perkin & Stone. Antropologia del parentesco y de la familia. Blackwell Publishing.
Eisenstein, Z. R. (1979). Capitalist patriarchy and the case for socialist feminism. Monthly Review Press.
Friedl, E. (1975). Women and men: an anthropologist’s view. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. http://link.archive.org/portal/Women-and-men--an-anthropologists-view/buzWoMTrp6c
Geertz, C. (1972). Religious change and social order in Soeharto’s Indonesia. Asia, 27(1), 62-84. https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=V4PPW_cAAAAJ
Habiba, U., Ali, R., & Ashfaq, A. (2016). From patriarchy to neopatriarchy: experiences of women from Pakistan. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(3), 212-221.
Herbst, P. G. (1950). The measurement of family relationships. Human Relations, 5 (February), 3–35.
Heath, A. (1976). Rational choice and social exchange. Cambridge. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-social-policy/article
Heirder, K. G. (1996). Grand Valley Dani: peaceful worrier. University of Chicago.
Jamal, A. (2014). Men’s perception of women’s role and girls’ education among Pashtun tribes of Pakistan: a qualitative Delphi study. Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, 6(2). https://journals.library.ualberta.php/cpi/article/view/24084
Jan, M. (2008). Impact of education on decision making power among women. Journal of Educational Planning and Administration, 22, 273-282.
Kandiyoti, D. (1988). Bargaining with patriarchy. Gender and Society, 9(3), 1-23. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/089124388002003004?journalCode=gasa.
Kaur, P., & Mughal, A. J. (2013). Women’s resources and power dynamics in Sikh families in Malaysia, International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 39(1), 77-92. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43488407
Keiser, L. (1997). Friend by day, enemy by night. Harcourt College. https://archive.org/details/friendbydayenemy0000keis
Khan, Y et al. (2018). Familial impediments to women political status in Pukhtun society. Anthropology, 6(4), 1-6.
Khattak, A. H., Jan, A., Qazi, H. M. Z., & Khan, I. U. (2020). Does the factor of religion affect women leadership? a case study of Lower Dir, Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 4(1), 130–139. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/4.1.12
Konig, R. (1957). Family and authority: the German father in 1955. The Sociological Review, 5(1), 107-127. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-954X.1957.tb01002.x?journalCode=sora
Lerner, G. (1986). The creation of patriarchy (Vol. 1). Women and History.
Lindholm, C. (1982). Generosity and jealousy: the Swat Pukhtun of northern Pakistan. Columbia University. https://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/cultures/au04/documents/003
Malinowski, B. (1922). Argonauts of the western pacific: an account of native enterprise and adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Mann, C. (2005). Models and realities of Afghan womanhood: a retrospective and prospects. Gender Equality and Development Section, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO. http://www.womeninwar.org/CMann_afghanwomanhood.pdf
Michel, A. (1967). Comparative data concerning the interaction in French and American families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 29(May), 337-344. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-7151-3_17
Morrisey, S. (2003). Patriarchy on trial: suicide, discipline and governance in imperial Russia, The Journal of Modern History, 75(1), 23-39.
Oakley, A. (1974). The sociology of housework. Martin Robertson.
Oropesa, R. S. (1997). Development and marital power in Mexico. Social Forces, 75, 1291-1318. https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/75/4/1291/2233661
Paolucci, B., O. A., Hall., N. W., Axin. (1977). Family decision-making: an ecosystem approach. John Wiley. https://cir.nii.ac.jp/crid/1130282270776664064
Pessala, A. (2012). Perspectives on attitudes and Behaviors of Pashtun women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. https://www.d3systems.com/wp-content/
Polsby, N, W. (1963). Community power and political theory. Yale University. https://www.jstor.org/stable/973908
Rodman, L & Hyman, M. (1972). Marital power and the theory of resources in cultural context. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 3(1), 50-67. https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/jcfs.3.1.50?journalCode=jcfs
Safilios-Rothschild, C. (1967). A comparison of power structure and marital satisfaction in urban Greek and French families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 29, 345-352. https://www.jstor.org/stable/349696
Scanzoni, J. & Szinovacz, M. (1980). Family decision-making: a developmental sex-role model. Sage Publications. https://pascal-francis.inist.fr/vibad/index.php?action=getRecordDetail&idt=12476201
Scanzoni, J. H. (1979). Social processes and power in families. In Burr, W. R. (Eds.) Contemporary theories about the family. Free Press. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=US201301454766
Sujatha, D. S. & Reddy, G. B. (2009). Women’s education, autonomy, and fertility behaviour. Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Sciences. 1, 35-50. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/15828650/3._sai_sujatha-libre.pdf?1390864502=&response-content
Sultana, A. (2012). Patriarchy and women’s subordination: a theoretical analysis. The Arts Faculty Journal, 4(1), 1-18.
Walby, S. (1990). Theorizing patriarchy. Blackwell Publishers.
Xu, X., & Lai, S. C. (2004). Gender ideologies, marital roles, and marital quality in Taiwan. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 318–355. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0192513X03257709?journalCode=jfia
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Sadaf Arbab, Mohammad Taieb
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Licensing & Copyright Policies
Articles in JHSMS-IDEA are Open Access contents published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) International License http://
The copyright policy of JHSMS-IDEA is based on a non-exclusive publishing agreement, according to which the journal retains the right of first publication, but the author(s) are free to subsequently publish their work. The copyright of all work rests with the author(s).
The users may use, reproduce, disseminate or display the article(s) provided that the author(s) are attributed as the original creators and that the reuse is restricted to non-commercial purposes, i.e., research or other educational use. Authors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the various creative commons licenses.