Improving the Status of Women & Safeguarding Reproductive Rights in Pakistan - The Lynchpin to Achieve Sustainable Development

  • Rubina Sohail Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore.
Keywords: SDG 5, Sexual and Reproductive Health


Pakistan’s latest estimated population is 207,774,520 (excluding autonomous regions Azad Kashmir and Gilgit). This makes Pakistan the fifth most populous country in the world, just behind Indonesia and slightly ahead of Brazil. Women form around half of the population of the country. Pakistan particularly struggles with high maternal mortality ratios, adolescent birth rates and unmet need for contraception. Pakistan has the third highest burden of maternal, fetal and child mortality globally. According to WHO, fertility is considerably higher in rural communities than in urban areas. On average, most rural women have 4 children. Contraceptive prevalence rate remains low at 35 per cent, meaning that most people are not using birth control methods. Even though 96 per cent of married Pakistani women are aware of at least one modern contraceptive method, but only 26% are using modern method of contraception. Major gaps remain at both service delivery and policy level, preventing adequate access to basic health facilities. Denying these rights leads to greater vulnerability to disease, ill health, unintended pregnancies, maternal death, harmful cultural practices and sexual and gender-based violence. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. This is not possible without achieving
SDG 5. It is essential to empower women and girls and to ensure action on gender equality so that we can make progress towards sustainable development by 2030.

Author Biography

Rubina Sohail, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore.

Currently President of South Asian federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Member of FIGO committee for Women’s Health & Human Rights