Friday December 01, 2023

Ways to empower women, promote gender equality discussed

By Our Correspondent
September 21, 2023

LAHORE: Transparency International Pakistan (TI Pakistan) hosted a conference on ‘Tackling Corruption to Enhance Gender Equality’ at a local hotel here on Wednesday.

Renowned experts, policymakers, and civil society representatives participated in the conference to discuss and strategise ways to empower women in the fight against corruption and promote gender equality.

TI Pakistan Executive Director Kashif Ali said that corruption hits the poor and vulnerable groups the hardest. He argued that the gendered impact of corruption at the point of service delivery is more conspicuous. Women tend to have a weaker voice when it comes to demanding accountability. They can also become easier targets for corruption. He emphasised that mainstreaming gender into anti-corruption programmes is crucial and there is great need for gender sensitive reporting mechanism.

Punjab Information Commission’s Chief Information Commissioner Mehboob Qadir Shah shed light on how access to information can empower citizens to hold authorities accountable. He shared how PIC has upheld citizens right to access information.

US Institute of Peace (USIP) Pakistan Senior Programme Officer Saadia Sabir shared valuable insights into enhancing women's participation in decision-making process through gender-responsive laws, policies and practices. She emphasised the importance of creating an inclusive environment for women in governance systems.

TI Pakistan Project Coordinator Ashfaque Ahmed introduced the audience to the protection of women rights and access to justice through TI Pakistan’s legal advice centre. He stressed the critical role of legal support in safeguarding women's rights. He also shared various researches with the participants conducted under this project.

Punjab Police AIG Administration Ammara Athar highlighted different initiatives taken by Punjab police including Tahafuz Centres to protect the rights of citizens. The conference also featured SSP Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Punjab Makhdoom Qaiser Bashir, who provided an overview of FIA's role in the fight against corruption.

Shahzad Ashraf from UN Women, Punjab, highlighted the protection of women’s rights and their participation in the political process. Women in Struggle for Empowerment (WISE) Executive Director Bushra Khaliq shared inspirational stories and insights about women’s empowerment.