“Labour laws should be the same for men and women. The draft bill on home-based workers should be passed without dekay,” said Ume Laila Azhar, the executive director of HomeNet Pakistan.
She was addressing a one-day convention of women workers organised by HomeNet Pakistan.
The convention was a component of the Gender Equity Programme (GEP) implemented in collaboration with Aurat Foundation (AF) and supported by the USAID.
Azhar said the formal and the informal sector of the economy were closely linked.
She said HomeNet would identify women in various sectors and attempt to organise a workers movement.
Participants of the convention included union leaders, public policy experts, officers from the Labour Department, home-based workers and parliamentarians.
Other speakers included Khalid Mehmood, Mughees Tahir, Chaudhry Muhammad Yaqoob, Riffat Maqsood, Irfan Mufti, Mahnaz Rafi, Syeda Ghulam Fatima and Samiullah.
Lawmakers discussed various problems faced by women workers and stressed that they should be recognised as an important part of the work force.
Other topics discussed at the event included challenges faced by workers in the informal sector in urban and rural contexts, the state of women in agriculture and their contribution to the economy, a review of the Punjab Labour Policy and women workers, cases studies of domestic workers and brick kiln workers. Participants suggested that the draft bill on home based workers be passed without delay.
They said minimum wages of home-based workers should be fixed and they should be acknowledged as workers. They said women should be allowed to form unions and given lands instead of cash grants.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.
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