Engaging Fundamentalism: The Case of Women’s NGOs in Pakistan


Jafar, Afshan. 2007. “Engaging Fundamentalism: The Case of Women’s NGOs in Pakistan.” Social Problems 54 (3): 256–73. doi:10.1525/sp.2007.54.3.256.

Author: Afshan Jafar


Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have recently become the focus of much scholarly debate. Yet, we know little about the pressures that NGOs face and the contexts that they operate within, for most empirical research focuses solely on the relationship between NGOs and the state. By contrast, this article focuses on the relationship between women's NGOs and religious fundamentalism in Pakistan. I rely on ethnographic data collected in Pakistan between January and June 2004 to argue that Islamic fundamentalism poses a unique challenge to women's NGOs in the country. I examine the various strategies and responses used by women's NGOs in Pakistan to counter fundamentalism. I conclude with a critique of the strategies employed by women's NGOs and discuss their possibilities and limitations for bringing about structural changes in the position of women in Pakistan.

Topics: Gender, Women, NGOs, Religion Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Pakistan

Year: 2007

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