Mental Health, Happiness and Empowerment: Perspectives of Women From Urban and Rural Communities of Sindh, Pakistan

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 3:45 PM

Nasreen S. Lalani, MScN, RN
School of Nursing, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
Nargis Asad, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Pakistan

Learning Objective 1: determine the social determinants of mental health of a Pakistani women and its relation to empowerment

Learning Objective 2: discuss the existing mechanisms of control over women in a Pakistani society, strategies women have used to challenge these controls to gain wellbeing and empowerment


The research framework of WEMC is an inquiry into women s’ understanding of empowerment, and the factors that support and impede women’s empowerment The research framework also requires unveiling the mechanism of control over women, and strategies women have used to challenge these controls. . This particular study aims to explore the perception of women about mental health, determine the social determinants of mental health with happiness and empowerment, and to suggest ways for enhancing women’s mental health at micro, meso and macro level among the women living in urban and rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan.

Methods: Research Design:  Participatory Action Research using feminist paradigm

Instruments: nine Focus Group Discussions, tools of participatory reflection and action (PRA)


Family harmony and relationships were considered to be essential elements of happiness. Financial stability was another secondary element. Moreover, women felt happier and empowered in their young and adolescent age as compared to their adulthood and after marriage due to the imposition of various societal and family restrictions superimposed by a male dominated culture. Study results implied that empowerment and happiness are essential components of women’s mental health. Conclusion: There is a need to challenge the existing barriers which impede women’s well being and thus giving them more control of their lives not only at the personal but at the communal level for a collective change.