Women face massive challenges in Pakistani society. Although they make up around 60% of the agricultural workforce, men own most of the land. Despite the law, many underage girls are forced to get married and their families have to pay hefty dowries.
2121% of girls are married by their 18th birthday.
4545% of adults can’t read and write.
90The likelihood of water scarcity driven by climate change alone is as high as >90% in Pakistan.
There are more than five million children out of school in Pakistan – the second highest of any country – and only 63% of young women are able to read and write, compared with 78% of young men.
Recurring natural disasters are also a big problem. The 2010 floods affected more than 20 million people, and climate change is increasing the severity of extreme weather such as droughts and tropical cyclones.
What we did in Pakistan before November 2018
We helped vulnerable groups including women, street children and people with disabilities by working with local governments to secure access to healthcare and clean water.
We campaigned for women to be able to inherit and control land so they can have economic independence, and we encouraged women to join our REFLECT circles, where they could learn to read and write. Members were also offered small loans, allowing them to start their own business ventures.
To help eradicate forced child marriage we educated young girls and communities on its risks, and encouraged women to participate in meetings to ensure girls remain in school. We also lobbied government agencies to improve facilities in primary schools and campaign for school curriculums to include teaching on gender equality to both boys and girls.
How we changed lives for good in Pakistan
Read stories of women and girls we’ve helped.
Tackling child marriage through education
When Savelat was eight, she was forced to marry an older man. Instead of spending her time studying, she was forced to carry out never-ending household chores. She was also beaten by her mother-in-law and her husband, who had a drug addiction.
Luckily Savelat managed to escape. She returned to her parents and went back to school. She now works as a facilitator at an ActionAid Reflect Centre in her village, helping other women can learn to read and write and collectively tackle their problems.
Savelat explained: “I run the Reflect Centre and educate other girls and women about the impact of early girl marriage. I don’t want to see any other girl from my village having to endure the curse of early marriage. So I try my best to convince the parents that it is a crime and it should be stopped.”Read more about our work on women's rights