Gender and Violence in Urban Pakistan

Young adult men are the most visible and well-studied agents and victims of violence in urban areas. Young adult women, for their part, are the most invisible. They are relatively under-studied actors in urban violence.

This research will investigate gender role drivers and their relevance to violence among urban youth. Researchers will study four working-class neighbourhoods in Karachi and Rawalpindi/Islamabad. The aim is to:
- investigate how different gender expectations may help drive different types of violence;
- shed light on how improved access to public services, opportunities, public education, and media might change and reduce violence in urban Pakistan; and,
- identify possible pathways for mitigating violence through vulnerability reduction.

The research approach views women and men as "socially constructed" categories. These culturally specific models intersect with globalized ideas and experiences of masculinity and femininity. They are often at play in localized violence, from homes to neighbourhoods.

The research team will use qualitative and quantitative methods to detail social capital (collective benefits) and violent spaces in communities. There is currently little detailed data on violence in urban Pakistan. For this reason, the project will record the incidence, type, and frequency of public and private violence in selected parts of Karachi and Rawalpindi/Islamabad, taking gender into account. This will likely generate the first-ever record of this type in Pakistan.

This project is part of the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) research initiative designed to build an evidence base on the connections between urban violence, poverty, and inequalities. Jointly funded by IDRC and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the SAIC program also seeks to identify the most effective strategies for addressing these challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, December 21, 2012

End Date

Friday, April 29, 2016


24 months

IDRC Officer

Navsharan Singh

Total funding

CA$ 479,300


Pakistan, United Kingdom


Governance and Justice, Safe and Inclusive Cities

Project Leader

Dr Nausheen H Anwar


Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

Institution Country


Institution Website