Message from Dr. Shireen M. Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights and Secretary Ministry of Human Rights Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha on the occasion of National Working Women’s Day, 22nd December, 2019

Islamabad, December 21, 2019 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazar said in his message on National Working Women Day ,It is a matter of great pleasure for me that our nation joins hands today to celebrate National Working Women’s Day, as a symbol of recognition of the valuable contributions of female workers and leaders in various sectors in Pakistan. The rights of women are protected by Islamic principles and enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan. She further said that we believe, the protection of women working in various professions is necessary for sustainable development. The Government is committed to creating an enabling environment for female participation in the workforce. Moreover, Pakistan has ratified several International Human Rights Conventions concerning women, and is committed to meeting our obligations.

In this regard, a number of legislative and administrative measures have been taken by the Federal and Provincial Governments to provide equal opportunities to women so that they can excel in all spheres of life. She also highlighted that as a result of concerted efforts of the Government, more than 200 women parliamentarians are playing a significant role in policymaking in Pakistan. A significant proportion of women are also working in top positions in the public as well as private sector. A 10 % quota has been allocated for women in public sector jobs at the federal level. The Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace at the federal and provincial level is also working to ensure a safe environment for working women in the country.

She also said that the Benazir Income Support Programme also provides a unique forum for female empowerment by providing cash transfers to vulnerable women so that they can have more agency in terms of decision making in their lives. Women empowerment policies, packages, helplines, working women hostels, vocational centers, day care centers are also important initiatives to increase ratio of working women in the work force. She also emphasized that the National Working Women’s Day reminds us of the importance of supporting the participation of women and girls in all spheres of economic, social and political life. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

This Day also provides an opportunity to praise the achievements of women and to highlight their needs and concerns at the national, regional and global level. She also said that I, therefore, call upon the civil society, NGOs, volunteers, philanthropists, international development partners, media, corporate sector and particularly women themselves to come forward and play their role towards this noble cause. Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha, Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights said in his message on National Working Women’s Day that the Government, being cognizant of enormous challenges faced by working women, is committed to protect women from all kinds of exploitation and marginalization; and to provide equal opportunities and an enabling environment to women for their participation in every sphere of life according to their capabilities.

We reiterate our pledge towards gender parity, and the promotion and protection of women’s rights in the country. I appreciate the efforts of Government Departments, the private sector and civil society organizations to create a conducive environment for working women in the country. She further highlighted that a number of steps, including pro-women legislation to create a conducive environment at the workplace, have been taken. The Ministry of Human Rights, in coordination with relevant Federal and Provincial Departments, is undertaking a number of interventions proposed under the Action Plan for Human Rights to uplift the status of women.

This includes a model policy on violence against women and girls, a policy for Home Based Workers, as well as the establishment of a Helpline 1099 for legal advice, an Endowment Fund for free Legal Aid for poor victims, and a Women Protection Centre for free legal and psychological aid. She also mentioned that the Ministry of Human Rights has also launched extensive public awareness campaigns, trainings and capacity building programmes for lawyers, police and prosecutors to sensitize them about pro-women legislation.

A quota has been reserved at the Federal and Provincial level to mainstream women in the employment sector. In addition, hostels for working women and day care centres have also been established to facilitate and promote female employment. Provincial Governments have increased their employment quota, granted age relaxation to women, established sales and display resource centers, day care centers, and women development complexes and hostels, to provide opportunities and ensure safe working environments for women, enabling them to actively play their dynamic role in uplifting the socio-economic status of society as a whole.

She further highlighted that as a result of the continuous efforts of federal and provincial governments, women from all over Pakistan are now entering non-traditional professions like armed forces, sports, scuba diving and the media and entertainment industry, to play their due role in the development of country. I am confident that with our continued efforts, we will be able to contribute significantly towards ameliorating their plight and giving them a better and brighter future.

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