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March 8, 2019

Women work more than men: study

Top Story

March 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Women work more than men and it’s a worldwide trend. A study carried out by Statista has proved that the women in all seven regions of the world work more than men. However, most of work done by women is unpaid in all the regions.

As per the survey of Statista -- an online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal, South Asia is the second largest region in the world where a majority of the women’s work is unpaid for most of the time.

The survey shows the South Asian women do 7.8 hour unpaid work daily.

The women rights activists however are hopeful that the conditions of women in workplaces are improving with the passage of time. After the recent wave of women activism, the women have started realising about their rights and more and more women have started doing jobs in the formal sectors of urban areas.

According to these activists, the families are now allowing their females to do jobs. More females are coming out of their homes to financially support their families. This trend has changed because of the poor economic conditions of the country. The environment of work places is getting better with the passage of time whereas the office of Federal Ombudsman for Protection Against Harassment at Workplace is also proving to be effective. However, they expressed concerns on the working conditions of women in rural areas and informal sectors and demanded the government to pay attention on these areas.

As per the statistics of Statista, Latin America is the region where then women do unpaid work for around 8.3 hours a day. Second on the list is South Asia where women do 7.8 hours unpaid work. East Asia and the Pacific region’s women do 7.7 hours unpaid work whereas Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asian women do 7.4 hours unpaid work. The women in developed countries have to do 7.2 hours unpaid work. Sub-Saharan Africa region’s women work 7.1 hours whereas Middle East and North Africa region’s women have to do 6 hours unpaid work.

Renowned lawyer and human rights activist Hina Jilani while talking to The News said the conditions of women have not improved in rural areas of Pakistan. Though there has been some improvement in the working conditions of women in urban areas and particularly in the formal sector, but most of the women in rural areas have to do unpaid work with their men in the fields apart from housekeeping.

“The women unions in the formal sectors of the urban areas are playing their role in improving the working conditions and highlighting the issues being faced by the women workers. The recent women activism has also paved way for the women and now more and more families are sending their females for doing jobs,” commented Jilani.

She said due to poor economic conditions of the countries, it has become hard to run a family on the income of male head of the family. Now everyone has started realising that they have to give permission to their women for doing job. However, it is now responsibility of the government as well as the civil society and women unions to ensure their protection.

The Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment at Work has started working effectively. “There should be Sexual Harassment Committees in every sector and office where women work. This will give confidence to the families and hence more and more women will opt for doing jobs in the private and public sector,” she said.

Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), while talking to The News said the working condition of women has improved a little bit as compared to past. However, the women in rural areas are still suffering as most of them are doing unpaid work along with their male members in the fields.

“The struggles and hardship being faced by the women in rural areas need to be recognised by the authorities and government as well as women union and civil society should raise their voice for supportive legislation for women. The Sindh government has made some legislation for the women workers but no other province has followed this. The federal as well as the remaining three provinces should also legislate for providing enabling environment to women in workplaces,” commented Khawar Mumtaz.

She said people are sending their females for doing jobs due to economic situation in the country. Though they are sending them not by their choice but because of economic compulsion, but even then this is a step forward in the right direction, she commented.

Talking to The News, Tavnveer Jahan, Director Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD), said that working condition of women in Pakistan has improved a bit over the last few years.

The Federal Ombudsman for Protection Against Harassment at Workplace has been playing an active role to protect and create awareness about sexual harassment. However, the women in rural areas are still suffering and most of them are still working with their males in the field. Similarly, there is no mechanism for women labour in informal sector and the women labour unions are ineffective in the rural areas of the country. “There is a need of women labour unions revival and the government should ensure legislation to provide a safe and enabling environment in the workplaces,” she said.

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