Women have legal claim and right on the property of husband, father, brothers and other relation. But in practice these rights are denied to women on different pretexts especially due to their weaker social status. In 2008, government initiated Benazir Income Support Fund Program; which targeted extremely poor women in Pakistan aimed to bring a socio economic change in their status. This report focuses on the role of Benazir Income Support Fund Program and its impact on women’s property rights and the socio-economic and psychic influences on women. This study aims to specifically explore the role of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) in securing women’s rights to property as only CNIC holder women are eligible to apply for assistance. The study has applied qualitative method of research using different data collection strategies and is based on case studies of Aurat Foundation, interviews with BISP beneficiaries and available data. Results suggest that the program is primarily designed for direct economic empowerment of women but it has strong social implications for the beneficiaries as well. The program has promoted possession of CNIC among huge poorest segment of women in Pakistan which helps the inclusion of women in their family trees as previously they were not within that tree in governmental record. In this way, the family would hardly ignore the presence of women during marriages, inheritance and entrepreneurial activities; consequently strengthening their property rights and social status. There is no direct empirical evidence suggestive of visible change in properties of BISP beneficiary women, as the program only qualify property-less families for the assistance but the social implication of this program suggests that in the long run it would trickle down to a stronger ‘say’ of women in their lives and a stronger property rights. Registration of women in NADRA also empowers them with ‘right to vote’ and there is a sharp increase in number of women voters in the country. The program by design promotes women centric familial structure rather men headed traditional family centric and hence created a space for women leadership.
Keywords: Property Rights, Social Protection, Women Empowerment