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Public Opinion on Veiling and Hijab for Women in Pakistan

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3 key learnings from this study:  

a) A majority of Pakistanis are of the view that women should cover themselves when they go out in public. In comparison to men, fewer women hold this view.

Gender Divide: Although most women support hijab (both as a compulsory dress code and a preference), men are more passionate about the issue than women which shows that there is a gender divide.  

A fine point to note here is that the gender gap in views with regards to hijab being a compulsion is 10%, whereas for the more casual ‘should cover in public’ assertion, the gap is lower, i.e. 7%.  

b) Older generations are more tolerant about the matter of Hijab. On the other hand, middle-aged Pakistanis (30-50) are staunch supporters of women covering themselves in public. Millennial Pakistanis are less supportive of veiling than middle-aged Pakistanis but far more supportive than the older generations. Could this be because the current middle-aged population of Pakistan was born in the 1970s and 1980s—a time of social Islamisation in the country?  

c) A shift from urban to rural areas reduces support of veiling in public substantially—a 12% difference exists in the respective respondents‘ support of veiling in public. However, on whether hijab should be a compulsion, the difference in opinion between urban and rural dwellers is minimal.

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