September 23, 2010Print : Islamabad
According to the data collected by the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) on implementation of ‘Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010’ in public sector, around 43 ministries, departments and divisions have adopted the code of conduct whereas 79 institutions have formed inquiry committees up till now.
The information was shared by Director General Gender Equality Kishwar Shaheen Awan at a national level awareness-raising seminar organised by the MoWD. The seminar was organised at the Ministry of Population Welfare (MoPW). As part of the monitoring strategy for effective implementation of the Act, all public sector departments are asked to report to the MoWD about progress in the adoption of code of conduct and establishment of the inquiry committee.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Population Welfare Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the harassment act is not only a piece of legislation, but it is an effort to change the mindset that serves as the biggest hurdle in the way of women joining the workforce. She said that it is a general behaviour of not only women but also of both genders, which needs to be changed. She quoted that the example of Hazrat Khadija (RA), who she said was the first women entrepreneur in Islam. “Such behaviours have taken roots in our society only because we have stopped following the instructions of the Holy Qur’aan and Hadith, which are guidelines and code of life for all Muslims,” she pointed out while terming the Holy Qur’aan as the best legislation for women.
Dr. Awan said that prolonged legal procedures have increased the misery of women. She said that it is the duty of the state to guarantee equal rights, equal space and equal ownership are for all its citizens. She paid tribute to Benazir Bhutto for her efforts for women’s development. She appreciated the efforts of the government, especially MoWD, for initiating awareness-raising campaign at national and departmental levels. She ensured active participation of the MoPW in order to create awareness on the implementation of the act and termed MoPW as a ‘resource centre’.
Director General (Gender Equality) Kishwer Shaheen Awan said that Pakistan entered a new era of legislation by signing the ‘Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010’, which is designed to provide a safe and a better working environment for higher productivity in accordance with the principle of equal opportunity for men and women.
The session started with the recitation from the Holy Qur’aan that was followed by presentation on harassment act, code of conduct, committee formation, TORs of the committee and penal procedures by Aqsa Khan, Member Alliance Against Sexual Harassment (Aasha).
At the end, Aqsa explained the queries and concerns of the participants regarding the implementation of the act. MoPW Secretary Major (r) Haroon Rasheed presented the concluding comments and vote of thanks to the participants of the seminar.