ISLAMABAD: Despite a meager budget of Rs75 million for current fiscal year, the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has actively been striving to eliminate violence against women by taking legal, as well as institutional steps, and creating mass awareness through frequent interactions and drives.
Established under the NCSW Act 2012, the Commission is mandated to promote social, economic, political and legal rights of women as provided in the Constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with its international commitments.
Comprising of Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz , and two members each from the four provinces, one each from Islamabad, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), the body organized various programmes and seminars, which aim for advocacy, awareness and promotion of women laws, according to a brief encompassing the commission’s activities during last year.
The activities arranged by the body include holding a one-day dialogue commemorating National Women’s Day At Fatima Jinnah University back in February last year.
The commission also held four meetings of its committees which usually discuss legislation besides taking up the issues of violence against women.
The head of the commission led Pakistan’s official delegation to the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York last year.
The commission arranged the launch of an Urdu poetry book written by a domestic worker. In order to encourage young women writers, the NCSW also announced its intention to institute an Annual Young Women Writers Award.
Every year, the commission collaborates with other organisations for the Annual Conference on Rural Women Day. Approximately 1200 to 1500 women and men participate in the event from across the country, providing an opportunity to create awareness and reach out to women and women’s organizations.
The body arranged the meeting of the Inter Provincial Ministerial Group (IPMG) in the same month to bridge and channelize the gap after 18th amendment and the subsequent devolution of women’s development ministry to the provinces.
With NCSW as its secretariat, the IPMG’s mandate included sharing experiences, developing strategies for implementing government’s gender agenda, and initiating the process of establishing independent bodies and strengthening them.
The commission held a consultation to raise awareness on the adverse effects of child marriage and to adopted a Regional Action Plan (RAP) to End Child Marriage in South Asia (2015-2018).
In response to the rising number of complaints on violence against women, the commission held a stakeholder consultation for the establishment of Support Center for Women Victims of Violence.
As part of its efforts to safeguard and promote interests of women, the commission has conducted several researches and organized the launching ceremony of the three research reports in the last month.
In order to closing the gender gap in Pakistan’s electoral rolls, the body organized a National Dialogue on the subject. It also held meetings with Khwajasera Association, reviewed various draft laws and made recommendations to committee chaired by Senators Rubina Khalid and Farhataullah Babar.
The teams working under the commission visited various social welfare organizations and departments in Peshawar and Lahore.
NCSW is also in the process of developing a pilot Quick Response Complaint system in Sindh with the coordination of provincial governments departments and local authorities.
The Annual Report 2015-16 of NCSW was published in June last year and presented to the National Assembly which paves way for future action and strategy.