The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is a significant social safety net program in Pakistan aimed at alleviating poverty and supporting vulnerable segments of society. However, a critical issue of inequality arises concerning the inclusion of low-income women, particularly those who are single and lack male family members. This article delves into the exclusion of single low-income women from the BISP program and the implications it holds for their livelihoods and economic well-being.
The BISP Program and Its Objectives
The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is a government initiative in Pakistan designed to provide financial assistance to low-income households, ultimately aiming to reduce poverty and enhance socio-economic development. It primarily targets households living below the poverty line and seeks to empower women, recognizing their pivotal role in the household and society.
Exclusion of Single Low-Income Women: A Glaring Inequality
While divorced and widowed low-income women are categorized as “ever married” and deemed eligible beneficiaries for the BISP program, single low-income women without male family members face deliberate exclusion. This exclusion forces many female breadwinners to work additional hours in order to support their families, exacerbating their economic challenges.
Impact of Exclusion on Single Low-Income Women
The deliberate exclusion of single low-income women from the BISP program has far-reaching consequences on their financial stability and overall well-being. These women, already grappling with financial hardships, lack the additional support that the BISP could provide. This exclusion exacerbates the cycle of poverty and compromises their ability to adequately support their families.
Addressing Inequality: Recommendations and Way Forward
Addressing the exclusion of single low-income women from the BISP program is crucial for ensuring a more equitable social safety net. Policymakers and stakeholders need to reevaluate the eligibility criteria to include all vulnerable women, regardless of their marital status or the presence of male family members. This step is essential to create a more inclusive and effective program that genuinely addresses poverty and supports those in need.
The BISP program plays a vital role in poverty alleviation and empowering women in Pakistan. However, the exclusion of single low-income women without male family members represents a significant inequality within the program. Recognizing and addressing this issue is pivotal to truly uplift vulnerable segments of society and promote a more inclusive and equitable society. Policymakers must prioritize inclusivity in social safety net programs to ensure that no woman is left behind in the pursuit of a better and more prosperous future.