Demanding implementation of pro-women legislation in a webinar held on Saturday, speakers said Pakistani women’s struggle for equal rights has continued over the decades despite all odds and dictatorship.
They said democratic governments had passed ample legislation but due to their non-implementation had deprived women of their lawful rights.
They were of the view that gender inequality underpins many problems that disproportionately affect women and girls, such as domestic and sexual violence, lower pay, lack of access to education, and inadequate healthcare.
The speakers said women suffer from pervasive gender-based violence, domestic abuse, honour killings, sexual violence and institutional discrimination. There was a widespread lack of consistent access to quality family planning services in Pakistan, resulting in one of the highest unmet needs in Asia, they added.
Journalist Fauzia Shahid said February 12 was commemorated to remember the brave struggle of the women for their rights launched in 1983 when “the dictatorial regime promulgated legislation contrary to the women’s democratic and lawful rights”.
She added: “Unfortunately, patriarchal thinking has continued over the years despite the continuous struggle. Women have now found some space but the destination of equal rights is still far-sighted.”
PODA president Sameena Nazir said legislations done for women empowerment were not communicated to the bottom where they were supposed to be implemented. “There is no adequate mechanism to educate the implementing agencies about the enforcement of the law.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2021.
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