Stalking, sending unsolicited messages on internet constitutes harassment

Federal ombudsperson says it is vital to educate women so that they can stand alongside men as equals

Our Correspondent March 20, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Using cell phones to intimidate or stalk others, send unsolicited and inappropriate text messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, and Instagram falls under harassment and must be reported.

This was stated by the Federal Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment (FOSPAH) at Workplace Kashmala Tariq while addressing an event on Women’s Day at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) on Tuesday.

Tariq said that it is vital to educate women so that they can stand alongside men equally and contribute to the country’s economic development. She further said that women should be aware of their rights and that they should not tolerate the injustices meted out to them.

Quoting the harassment law, she said that all institutions, offices and organizations should have an internal harassment committee and that organisations must report their status of compliance as per the workplace harassment law.

She further explained that it was not only the sexual harassment cases which need to be reported to FOSPAH, but other cases of harassment which turn workplaces hostile to work in can also be reported.

The federal ombudsperson stressed on ensuring gender equality, maintaining a respectful behaviour with employers and asked participants to create awareness amongst fellow members with respect to workplace harassment.

She lauded RCCI in its efforts to promote women entrepreneurship and added that these women play a remarkable role in the economic uplift of the country.

Women are coming out of taboos and social constraints.

As a result, more women can now be seen in various professions especially outside the conventional sectors such as information technology, heading companies and having a say in company boards at the corporate levels and even manning fighter jets in the air force. Somali Ambassador Khadija Muhammad highlighted the role and responsibilities of women and the safeguards provided in Islam.

She added that she got support from her mother and husband to represent her country, adding that she also served in Iraq during the war there.

Earlier, RCCI President Malik Shahid Saleem said that the aim of celebrating Women’s Day was to acknowledge the role and contribution made by women in uplifting the socio-economic condition in the country.

He added that no nation can progress without the progress of women.

“The Rawalpindi Chamber has always welcomed women to participate in chamber’s activities and to bring about a change in businesses,” Saleem said.

RCCI, he said, has established an incubation centre for businesswomen to provide an equipped place to women to display their products and hold meetings to promote their businesses, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2019.


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