Empowering women: Need stressed for implementing gender-sensitive laws
08-Mar-14 03:53 AM
Pakistani women will not give in to the patriarchal tyranny of their society and continue to work for the passage and implementation of laws to protect women against violence, rights activists said on Friday.
The activists were speaking at a reception organised by the French embassy to celebrate International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.
Speakers talked about the need to highlight the achievements of Pakistani women and push for effective implementation of laws to achieve gender equality in the country.
“The major impediment in the implementation of laws that protect women is the patriarchal mindset,” said former MNA Attiya Inayatullah. “I believe we need more voices (from men to support women’s equality and empowerment.)”
French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud said women and girls around the world are facing new challenges which call for global cooperation and action to counter these challenges. “No country in the world can pretend to have achieved complete gender equality and so we must work together to achieve it.”
He said every day should be treated as importantly as the 8th of March. The French ambassador also said the embassy is committed to help with education and skill development for Pakistani women.
He said gender equality is being ensured in the 200 needs-based scholarships the French embassy offers Pakistani students annually for higher education.
Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Director Valerie Khan said women’s rights activists will work in 2014 to get pending women-specific legislations, such as domestic violence and anti-acid crime laws, passed through federal and provincial assemblies.
Rights activist Tahira Abdullah said the federal government has claimed Pakistan’s poverty rate is 12.5 per cent in a recent Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report, which contradicts most independent assessments of poverty in the country.“Civil society organisations should exercise their right to submit a “shadow report” to a UN agency to express their concerns about the government’s report.”
Inayatullah said women’s rights activists around the world should lobby for all the MDGs to be “engendered” because some of the existing indicators are not gender-specific.
In keeping with the International Women’s Day 2014’s theme of “Inspiring change,” National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz paid tribute to Pakistani women who inspire the current women rights movement in the country.
Mumtaz said Pakistani women and girls such as mountaineer Samina Baig, education activist Malala Yousufzai, independent candidate Veeru Kohli, signify defiance against the patriarchal order.
“NCSW’s current focus is to “make sure that laws (related to women rights) get implemented. The commission is building a mechanism to monitor and find gaps in implementation.” By the end of 2014, we would be able to track the implementation of women-specific laws, she added.
She also mentioned that rules of business for NCSW, which was made autonomous in 2012, will be approved in the coming few days which will make the commission more effective.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2014.