Women can register harassment online

Afp April 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The ministry of women development (MoWD) is “soon” to set up a cell at its website to address the complaints of women. Currently, the website contains information related to the ministry as well as contact information for ministry officials and can be accessed at mowd.gov.pk.

“We will also arrange public awareness seminars throughout the province at district-level explaining the harassment law to the people by mid of May,” Yasmeen Rehman, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Women Affairs, said on Thursday.

She was addresessing a roundtable consultation on implementation of the `Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010’. MoWD will regularly monitor the data of harassment cases registered on a monthly basis, she said. The ministry is also developing a think tank and will involve media, public and private organisations to devise a strategy to enable women empowerment, she added. Police representative Kamaluddin Tipu, on the occasion, said the police will create a desk at every police station to enable women to register their complaints. “Women police officials will be appointed on these desks,” he added.

Dr Fauzia Saeed also gave a technical presentation on the law. “About 60-70 per cent of people are in practice of unintentional harassment as they have no awareness about it,” she said. “There is a need to bring change in their professional behaviour,” she added. The instructions on how to comply with the law, she said, has been prepared in a simple language to ensure easy understanding and “100 per cent compliance to the law”. Dr Saeed also explained how a company should deal with a particular harassment case. The company should not divulge the identity of either the offender or the victim during investigation, she said.

The management will appoint a three-member Standing Inquiry Committee to handle any complaints of sexual harassment. At least one member should be a woman. They should also notify all employees of the new Code of Conduct (CoC) in the HR policies and the names and contact information of the three committee members. The management will also post this notification and full text of the CoC on a notice board or any common area in a language understandable by the employees. Representatives from important ministries, public and private organisations were present during the meeting. They promised their full support to MoWD in harassment law’s implementation. APP


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