A new report on the impact of Islamic fundamentalism on women in Pakistan has revealed a startling finding: Arabic speakers on social media were twice as likely to post content in Arabic as the English-speaking community.
The report, released by the National Council of Resistance of Pakistan (NCRP), says women were more likely to share content in the language, even if they were educated in English.
The report also found that Arabic was used by the highest number of women in the country, followed by Urdu, Farsi, Bengali and Nepali.
According to the report, about half of the women in each of these languages were educated to the highest standard in the education system, the report states.
“These women were also more likely than their peers to be employed, in terms of wages and job security, to be single and in many cases, to have multiple partners,” a member of the NCPRP said.
Women also made up the majority of those who had posted content in Hindi, the study said.
The research is based on a survey conducted by the NCCP between January 2016 and January 2017.
It surveyed 3,500 Pakistanis between the ages of 18 and 35.
The study found that while women in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan were the most likely to use Arabic as their mother tongue and speak it more frequently than their male counterparts, they were also the most vulnerable.
In Punjab, where women made up 50 per cent of the population, only 7 per cent spoke Arabic, the highest proportion in the state, the survey found.
In Sindh and Baluchistan, where both the provinces are home to a large population of Muslims, only 17 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, spoke Arabic.
In Balochstan, where the Muslim population is in the majority, only 2 per cent speak Arabic, according to the survey.
The women were most likely, however, to use Hindi, Urdu and Farsalic as their first language, and to speak more than one language at home, the NNCP said in a statement.
“The survey also found women who were educated or who had a higher level of education were also significantly more likely [to be] Arabic speakers and more likely (to) use Hindi and Urdu as their languages of choice,” the statement read.
In a separate study conducted by NCCRP, the group found that, of the 733 women who had participated in a similar survey, 477 of them were illiterate, the most common reason for the lack of literacy among women.
The NNCRP is one of the most active groups in Pakistan, and has conducted several surveys on the issue.
It has been criticized for its reliance on self-reporting, as well as for not accounting for socio-economic factors that might affect the accuracy of data.
Last month, the country’s government ordered a nationwide study of the countrys religious and social fabric, but it is not clear whether this will include a focus on women.
Follow Ali Sowdas on Twitter at @AliSowdals