Evictions as a form of structural violence have psychological and other health implications. In Ghareebabad, an informal settlement facing the threat of eviction in Karachi's District South, residents have repeatedly mentioned traumatic distress, anxiety, deteriorating health, and even death in extreme cases. These impacts are significantly greater for women and children
The South Asian city is changing fast. There are more women in urban centers than ever before and they are joining the workforce, albeit more in the informal sector. But the benefits of urbanization do not accrue equally to men and women. Despite women’s need to travel within cities to access economic and educational opportunities, they are still habitually harassed for being out in public spaces. In this chapter (2018) that appears in the edited book Social Theories of Urban Violence in the Global South (Routledge), the authors consider the problems that women experience with mobility in Pakistan’s cities, as they challenge traditional gender roles.
The report is the final output of the Safe and Inclusive Cities Program (SAIC) project (2013 – 2016). The project has focused on the material and discursive drivers of gender roles and their relevance to configuring violent geographies specifically among 12 urban poor, lower-income, lower-middle income, neighborhoods of 3 cities: Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. The project has investigated how frustrated gendered expectations may be complicit in driving different types of violence and how they may be tackled by addressing first, the material aspects of gender roles through improved access to infrastructure services and opportunities, and second, discursive aspects of gender roles in terms of public education and media. This report's findings are based upon approximately 2400 hundred questionnaire surveys, close to 60 ethnographic style interviews, participant observations, participatory photographic surveys, media monitoring, secondary literature review and some key informant interviews. The findings overwhelmingly point towards access to services and vulnerability profiles of households as major drivers of violence, as they intersect with discourses surrounding masculinities, femininities and sexualities. The core discussions and analysis in this final research report are anchored in the following four themes: vulnerabilities, mobilities, access to infrastructure services, and violence. This was a multi-method research project and each of the methods was chosen to address specific types of data relevant to the specific research questions.