In the past 15 years, Pakistan has amended or passed almost a dozen pro-women laws than at any other time in country’s history. indubitably making law become very crucial and much important aspect when empowerment of women in the society is concern yet still have a extensive way to go for achieving required goals as long as effective implementation of these laws is concerned.
Alongside of proper implementation phase of women protection laws, there is a dire need of working on articulate and framing of mindset of people and their prospective to see women as equal with true spirit of being treated as just a human having all fundamental rights. It goes without saying that every effort goes in vein until the way of thinking would not change that allows to suppose woman as an entity and objective, penetration of such attitudes and mindset inbuilt in our society enough to refrain women to be treated equal as men.
This Gender-based discrimination keeps women in subordinate roles, resulting in low levels of participation in all walk of life specially social and economical justice, politics, education, skills and available work opportunities. Gender equality is a basic human right and women empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality but till date no country has fully achieved gender equality. In all civilizations, women have been playing their role to assist their families more specifically contributing family income. Interestingly, the beneficiaries of women empowerment are all; including men, women, society, community and the overall economy of a country.
According to international labour organization (ILO) recent labour market framework, there is no single solution to wiping out poverty but full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young person’s. In resent indicators of labour markets reviews shows that Women continue to be underutilized in the economy and labour market as reflected in their overall participation, as well as in the distributions in terms of economic sector and status groups.
The promotion of rights, employment, social protection and dialogue needs to be the heart of successful policies to get there. And this is what the constitution & labor laws of Pakistan stand on to provide equal opportunities regardless of gender, caste or creed as well as laws permeating regulations and benefits covering minimum wages, social security, health coverage and old age benefits;
The Constitution of 1973, in its Principles of Policy section, declares that “steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life” (Article 34);
Article 37 (e) of the Constitution says, “The State shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work ensuring that children and women are not employed in vocations unsuited to their age or sex and for maternity benefits for women in employment.”
There is a question of validation of these laws in term of proper utilization and implementation, because despite the factual ground conditions of gender inequality, these laws do not justify to counter ground realities and need to review and revise to address the today’s challenges on economic and social disparities .
For instance, according to the Pakistan Labour Laws, health is a human rights issue & accordingly the responsibility of the State. Certain areas of reproductive health are included in the Labour Laws, but there is no awareness amongst the employers or the workers about these provisions in the law. There are no women specific labour laws except the right to a maternity leave; there is also a law that women and children in the labour force have the right to less work hours. The existing labour laws need to be reviewed and repealed to address specific needs of women workers. This should not only apply to just maternity leaves but a more holistic view of the women’s reproductive needs as a recognized and integral part of all labour laws considering women have equal rights according to the Country’s Constitution;
The existing labour laws need to be reviewed and repealed to address specific needs of women workers. There are no provisions in the law for post-delivery conditions, like breast feeding mothers. Mothers with small children have no concessions or any spaces provided as baby crèches as a result women with young children are forced to abandon their work; Women of reproductive ages are discriminated against by employers who fear that they will not be able to deliver as much as required; This should not only apply to just maternity leaves but a more holistic view of the women’s reproductive needs as a recognized and integral part of all labour laws considering women have equal rights according to the Country’s Constitution;
According to the latest statistics, the current female population in Pakistan is 49.2 % whereas women participation in labour force is only 28%. evidently, this ratio is extremely low. Gender equality in term of women empowerment can play spectacular role in the economic development of Pakistan and that’s not possible without women engagement in work force, skilled human resource, and employment.
Taking some guidelines from Women’s Empowerment Principles to ensure providing best possible facilities in the marketplace, workplace and community. These globally acknowledged principles are as practical guidance to government entities, businesses and private sector to establish and prevail favorable environment for gender equality in labour and work force.
• Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
• Treat all women and men fairly at work — respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
• Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
• Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
• Promote education, training and professional development for women
• Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
• Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
It’s time to recognize enhancing women participation in contemporary society as is mandatory in order to ensure prosperous economy. Today’s women are educated, aware, confident and willing to work, Just a slender support, resources allocation and generous motivation, can make women do wonders.
About Samreen Khan Ghauri
She is a Multi Media Journalist, Passionate Development Activist & Entrepreneur, she can be access on email@example.com & @Samreen_ideas