Women cannot be empowered without giving them full participation in democratic process and decision making. Gender equality and protection of fundamental rights for women should be ensured by providing them economic justice. The views were expressed at a workshop on “Role and achievements of Women Caucuses for pro-women legislative and policy reforms” organised by Aurat Foundation and Westminster Foundation for Democracy in Lahore on Wednesday.
Convener, Women Parliamentary Caucus of Punjab Assembly, Ms Knawal Nauaman said to ensure gender equality, protection of fundamental rights for women and elimination of social injustice, it would be mandatory to enhance women’s meaningful participation in democratic process and decision making.
Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming Ms Raheela Khadim Hussain appreciated civil society for its efforts to build capacity of women parliamentary caucus to raise women’s concerns and mainstream gender in the assembly business. She stressed that women caucus should play their role to oversee the implementation of laws and highlight gender gaps related to violence and socio economic empowerment of citizens.
Speaking on the occasion, Ali Imran, Country Representative Westminster Foundation for Democracy, said the foundation is committed to strengthening the parliamentary performances through awareness on post-devolution roles and responsibilities of honourable parliamentarians. He highlighted the need and importance of provincial-federal parliamentary relationship and understanding of parliamentary procedures.
MNA Ms Shaza Fatima Khawja said the creation of women and youth caucuses at federal level have helped in developing pro-women legislative framework. She highlighted the importance of caucuses in strengthening democracy and democratic institution. She said women caucus at federal level is focusing on women entrepreneurship, skill development and job creation for women in CPEC.
Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, MPA from Sind Assembly, highlighted the achievements by Sindh Assembly and said woman worked hard to recognise their space in political arena. She said it is very important to create inter-provincial linkages between women parliamentarians to learn from best practice.
Shameela Aslam, general-secretary caucuses, said she will ensure implementation of pro-women legislation.
Senior secretary, Punjab Assembly, Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar said the assembly secretariat is providing research and legislative services to its members and vows to provide his support for women caucus. He appreciated role of women members in assembly business and highlighted that out of 36 private member bills, 16 are moved by women MPs. Moreover, out of 149 resolutions, 46 have been moved by women MPs.
Ex-convener Women Parliamentary Caucus, Dr Farzana Nazeer, congratulated to new caucus and hoped it would push women legislative agenda of Implementation of Women Protection Act 2016, Domestic Worker Policy and Law, Enactment of Acid throwing Act 2010, Home Based Worker Policy and Law, Amendments in The Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act 2015 (increase the age of girl marriage), Efforts to increase Women Participation in Sports, Efforts for establishment of health club through budgetary allocation, Trainings, communication skills, IT training and inter-provincial women parliamentarian exposure visits.
The session was attended by over 100 parliamentarians, CSOs activists, government institutions and media personnel including MPAs Dr Nausheen Hamid, Sadia Sohail, Nabeela Hakim, Tehseen Fawad, Gulnaz Shahzadi, Nighat Sheikh, Zebunisa, Farzan Butt, Lubna Faisal, Shah Jahan, Salma Butt, Shahzadi Shamim, Rukhsana Kaukab and others. Speaking on the occasion, participants highlighted the importance role of assembly in implementation of laws, strengthening the coordination among departments and enhancing the monitoring mechanisms.
Ms Mumtaz Mughal, Resident Director Aurat Foundation, said the foundation shall provide technical assistance and support for strategic visioning of women caucus and providing legal backup to the women caucus. She stressed the role of women caucus in social development, women empowerment, protection and economic justice.
domestic workers: A seminar on the issues of home-based workers was organised by an NGO on Wednesday.
The representatives of the local government, union councils, home-based workers and civil society participated in the seminar.
Ms Ume Laila Azhar, executive director of the NGO, the domestic workers must organise themselves and raise collective voices for their rights at the union council level.
She added that the government should focus on the informal sector and empower the domestic workers particularly the women. The women councilors and home-based works' leaders must act as watchdog and raise collective voice for the advocacy at the local level, she said.
Ms Ume Laila said union councils under the development schemes must launch some new schemes like low-priced housing projects , more clean and drinking water schemes, daycare centres, community centres and vocational skill centres for women to improve their social and economic lives.
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