Department of Sociology, Forman Christian College University (FCCU) Lahore hosted its 4th Conference on Marginalized Population groups of Pakistan.

The Conference highlighted local empirical research on different marginalized groups of Pakistan, which are mostly invisible population groups, requiring research attention and policy focus. A varied group of local experts from the social sciences participated in the conference including sociologists, clinical psychologists, urban sociologists, and gender specialists. Rector FCCU Dr Jonathan Addleton was Chief Guest of the conference whereas Chairperson Department of Sociology Dr Sara Rizvi Jafree and other participants were present on occasion.

Some of the participants have been researching their interest areas for more than ten years, and have shared key recommendations to improve protective policy for diverse groups, including the Sikh community, Christian community; Child domestic workers; Females facing human trafficking; Women deprived of inheritance rights; Mothers of children with autism; Informal Sufi settlers in urban spaces; Khawaja Sira; and Adolescents living in overcrowded residences facing issues of privacy.

The participants at the conference highlighted that even those who consider themselves privileged members of society are affected negatively by marginalization.

While speaking on occasion, Chairperson Department of Sociology Dr Sara Rizvi Jafree said that the history of the term “marginalized” came from the 1970s social revolution in the USA and has been used to describe people who are systematically excluded from equal opportunities as citizens of the state. It was agreed that it is not just the individual, but society as a whole that pays the costs when people encounter barriers to achieving their potential. The term marginalized has expanded from originally referring to impoverished groups, to including a long list of cultures and populations.

She said, “This year’s conference was a learning opportunity for all who participated and of the numerous things highlighted there were two things worth mentioning. First, there is a dearth of confirmed statistics about marginalized population groups. For example, it is unclear how many impoverished groups face inadequate housing, or how many child domestic workers are currently working in private homes. Ultimately, confirmed statistics are needed to design robust policy and understand the extent of the problem.”

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