Towards an understanding of gender practices in the Pakistani banking sector

  • Shafaq Chaudhry

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Research gap & Purpose of study: There is lack of research on women’s experience and gender inequalities in South Asian countries where gender issues are discussed less extensively. To fill this research gap, this study aims to explore gendering of work practices and identify how women workers make sense of these practices in the Pakistani banking sector.
Methodology: The study is embedded in social constructionist paradigm and adopts a multiple case study research design. The research field work comprised of 49 semi-structured interviews, 6-8 weeks of observation in each bank and organisational documents. Data collected from four case studies was analysed using both thematic and discourse analyses.
Key findings:
· The institutional norms as well as gendered organisational culture, shape the gender sub-texts of the working practices in Pakistani banking sector.
· The interrelation between gender, working practices and institutional and local cultural norms creates a paradox for Pakistani bankers, and shapes the process of identity work. While the individual and organisational level factors contribute towards framing the ways women make sense of themselves and their work, the institution of family and socio-economic class have a dominant influence.
· The configuration of gender practices are constructed differently in a wider cultural context as well as in different organisational cultural-contexts.
Theoretical Contributions: Theoretically, the study has contributed to performativity theory and Islamic feminism.
Originality of the study: The uniqueness of study lies in recognising the significance of ‘institutions’ and ‘context’ in understanding the complexities of gender inequalities in a workplace.
Implications for practice: The study recommends policy makers to focus on changing the underlying organisational culture and informal work practices which obscure gender inequalities under the cloak of equality legislations.
Limitations: The study has only addressed women’s experience from the Pakistan’s banking sector and overlooked the heterogeneity in women’s work experiences regarding occupation, ethnicity and geographical location.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJudith W Scully (Supervisor) & Vincenza Priola (Supervisor)


  • gender
  • identity
  • Islamic modesty and work practices

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