Speakers at a seminar on Saturday urged the unions to improve representation of women in their decision making bodies.
They also asked the government to ensure enforcement of laws on protection of women’s rights and to ratify international conventions related to working women.
Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) director Nazia Sardar said highlighted the need for unions to improve women’s representation in their decision making bodies. She said this could enable women employed in sectors where they are exposed to hazardous environment in particular to press for better work conditions. She said all workplaces should be required to develop a code of conduct to deal with sexual harassment cases.
Other speakers at Labor Instruments for Visibility and Rights of Women Workers: Make it Happen seminar included member of the national assembly (MNA) Khalida Mansoor, Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) Dr Najma Afzal and Kaneez Ashaq, rights activists Shazia George and Ghalia Farrukh, and Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce (FCC) representative Rizwan Ashraf.
Shazia George said home-based women workers were deprived of legal protections. She said the minimum wage guarantee, social security provisions and the employees’ old-age benefits available to formal sector workers were not available to home-based workers. MNA Khalida Mansoor and MPAs Afzal and Ashaq assured the audience that the government was committed to promote women’s participation in the economy. She said several pro-women legislations had already been passed for the purpose. Ashraf said under its several initiatives the chamber of commerce was trying to promote entrepreneurship amongst women. He said women should be encouraged to start their own businesses, even if at a small scale.
The seminar was arranged by Aurat Foundation under its the Gender Equity Programme (GEP).
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2015.