“The government must pass legislation to prevent domestic violence, and ratify ILO conventions for the protection of rights of home-based workers and domestic workers,” Shazia George, a rights activist, said on Monday.
She was speaking at a conference titled Struggle for Women’s Rights: Challenges, Achievements and Opportunities. The conference was arranged by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM). As many as 15 women were awarded for their services in various fields of women’s rights and empowerment despite legal, social, cultural, economic and political challenges.
Those honoured included Sister Razia Channan, Darul Aman Superintendent Khalida Rafique, Girl Guide Association’s Amna Ehsan, Women Shelter Organisation Director Razia Joseph, former PPP parliamentarian Noorun Nisa Malik, District Jail Superintendent Zaibun Nisa, Women Crisis Centre Manager Kanwal Shahzadi, journalists Hafiza Javeria and Shahnaz Mehmood, Anjum Alam Shah of the APWA and five leaders of home-based workers namely Amna Bano, Suraiya Waseer, Rafia Anjum, Shahida Fayyaz and Mussarat Jabeen.
George said development of a national policy on ending violence against women was paramount for the Women Empowerment Package 2014 to be a success.
“The government must enforce laws. It should approve more bills such as the domestic violence bill, a comprehensive acid violence bill, early and forced marriages bill, reproductive health rights bill and home-based women workers social protection bill,” she said.AWAM director Nazia Sardar said the government should make adoption of policy and preparation of a plan of action for recognition of unregistered women workers engaged in informal sectors a priority. Razia Joseph said the government should take measures to eliminate unconstitutional, illegal, unjust, traditional “adjudication” councils like jirgas and punchayats. Khalida Rafique said many women ran away from home due to the abuses inflicted on them.
“Discriminatory treatment towards women is a common practice in our society. Individuals and communities must adopt a positive behavior and attitude and should respect and support female members in the family.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.