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KARACHI: Speakers at a seminar on Monday urged the government to ensure ‘gender equity’ and full participation of women in all spheres of national life as stipulated in the constitution of the country.

The event titled “measures to ensure gender Equity in Pakistan” was organized by Pakistan Women’s Foundation for Peace (PWFFP) here on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

In her detailed address, Nargis Rahman Chairperson PWFFP said her organization along with a host of others are celebrating the day, celebrated the world over as the women’s day. The UN officialised it in 1975 at the Mexico conference and in 1977 it was proclaimed as the international day for peace and women’s right.

This year, the UN theme is “women in leadership” achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world. This implies that apart from all the other challenges that women face and struggle against, Covid-19 also poses a new challenge that has to be tackled.

She said that the founder of Pakistan, Jinnah our true Quaid defined and designed the role for the women of Pakistan. “Man must be made to understand and made to feel that woman is his equal and that woman is his friend and comrade and [that] they together can build up homes families and the nation.”

Gender equality was specially guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan adopted in 1973. Despite these pro-women legislations, Pakistan was declared the 6th most dangerous country for women, in 2011 as 939 women became victim of sexual violence, 279 of domestic violence, 143 women were attacked with acid or sat on fire, 833 were kidnapped and 1096 were killed in the name of honour. In 2014, 2015 and 2019, Pakistan was ranked 151 out of 153 in global gender equality index that relates to educational attainment, economic participation and opportunities, health and survival, political empowerment. Pakistan is an Islamic country, a constitutionally proclaimed democracy.

Our struggle is not gender based; our struggle is not against men it’s against oppression, injustice, the denial of human rights and obsolete tribal feudal jahilya order that uses cultural traditions to deny the masses their constitutional rights.

“We demand justice for all those who are settled in Pakistan irrespective of gender, faith and sect or class. We demand a fair justice system, economic justice, facilitation of women in school enrolment, recognition of women’s input, protection against harassment in the public and domestic domain, protection of the women in agricultural Labour, protection against exploitation in the work place.”Huma Haswari President of PWFFP in her introductory remarks said the organization has been working for the past two decades for promotion of peace.

Mahtab Rashdi former member of Sindh Assembly highlighted the dismal but true picture of the society. She said: “When I am reaching to the end of my life, I feel ashamed, we have not left behind a good society for our new generations.”

She said moral delinquency, corruption, kickbacks, bribery etc. have become the hallmark of our society. Educational boards are corrupt, and teachers are facilitating children for cheating in exams.

Talking about the role of rural women, she said women do multi-tasking works from home chores to fields, but their labour does not reflect in our GDP.

She said she had witnessed undemocratic behaviours of the so-called democratic parties in the provincial assembly.

She was of the view that dynastic politics will not change the fate of suppressed people of this country.

She questioned as to where the civil society has disappeared, leaving the public at the mercy of oppressive forces.

Sadiqa Salahuddin Educationist Trustee of Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) on this occasion said gender equity is impossible without imparting education to women. The picture of gender inequality in Pakistan is apathetic. For instance, the latest statistics show that out of 100 students in Sindh, only 39 girls are enrolled in primary level.She said the policy makers have neglected very fundamentals needed for the overall growth and development of the country.

While referring to Dr Mahbubul Haq’s article “Seven Sins of Economic Planners in Pakistan” she identified two major policy flaws at the state level: growth without justice, and neglect of human resource, and that is the reason Pakistan stands very low in human Development Index, as the country’s per capita, healthcare and education systems, and labour force participation is very poor. She also emphasized upon the need of population control and uplift of educational system.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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