In male-dominated societies, female inheritance often means that women function mainly as carriers of property from father to husband, rather than as active managers of their property. Therefore, a woman’s marriage determines whom her family will have to share their land with. This creates incentives for her male relatives to control her marriage decision and premarital relations.
To combat this and safeguard women’s rights to property in Pakistan, the Inheritance Outreach Project launched in 2021, to educate both women and men on the Inheritance Rights of Women according to Pakistani Law.
Over a span of seven months, over 5,500 women and 1,500 men participated in over 30 districts and cities, villages including remote areas across Sindh, Punjab, and KPK. As part of this project, different sessions were conducted in colleges and communities.
The agenda of these sessions was to raise awareness surrounding women’s inheritance rights, highlighting issues faced by the female gender in Pakistani society at large, especially in rural regions of the country, and educating them through content screenings and open discussions as well as empowering them to voice out their rights. SOC Films outreach teams also highlighted the free legal aid available for women by the Sindh Legal Aid Call Centre (SLACC) on 0800-070806.
In Hyderabad, Sindh, women in the audience were grateful to learn about how inheritance was divided as per Christian law, especially in circumstances where there was no will in place. “I will tell my struggling bhabhi to call this number and ask what she is owed as my brother recently passed”
In Sujawal, Sindh, an elderly lady mentioned that many people have taken over her land in her village and that she would now call the helpline to ask them to intervene and assist, “I am glad this system has come to safeguard women’s inheritance rights.”
In Peshawar, KPK, a woman said “the men here do not think women should take part when matters of inheritance are brought up. However, now that we know our rights, we shall use them wisely, especially for those women in our society that have had their families torn apart or have been abandoned due to the untimely passing of their husbands.”
“When it comes to a woman’s legal right to inheritance, it is a lack of awareness that restricts her from taking her rightful claim. With this project, we are working on educating women from all backgrounds across the country and empowering them to make their voices heard,” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
Produced in collaboration with The Legal Aid Society and the National Commission on the Status of Women, the project consists of screenings and sessions centred around 9 animated films in 8 regional languages, which aim to shed light on Women’s right to marital and legal property in Pakistan.
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