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October 19, 2020

Equal representation of women in upcoming LG polls demanded


October 19, 2020

Islamabad : On the concluding day of the annual Rural Women Conference, the participants demanded equal representation of women in the upcoming local government (LG) elections and an awareness campaign to educate the communities about the key features of the new local government system.

The there-day conference by PODA-Pakistan ended on a consensus demand to pull out the rural women from the growing poverty caused by COVID-19 by ensuring opportunities to enhance their technical skills to connect with the markets and with their inclusion at all decision-making levels by enhancing their political participation. The theme set for the conference was ‘Rural Women's Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation, COVID-19 Response, Governance and Disaster Preparedness.’

The rural women’s gathering approved a comprehensive list of resolutions for the next year by raising their hands. They demanded that the rural women should be provided training in disaster preparedness to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the disasters and equip them with skills to work on community development during Rescue, Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation and reconstruction.

They identified that the COVID-19 severely affected the livelihoods of the rural women and consequently the government must increase the coverage of COVID-19 relief package for the rural women to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19.

They demanded to the government that effective measures needed to enrol the children who dropped-out during local downs and provide online educational opportunities at all levels. The rural women leaders demanded from donor agencies to support these groups with organizational sustainability grants.

On this occasion, acclaiming and understanding Pakistan rural women’ struggle for their rights, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara said, “you have the power to bring change in your lives.”

The EU Ambassador was of the view that the rural women needed to adapt new viable and innovative techniques for their economic sustainability. She advised the participants to make networks and consortiums for being able to get funding in the future. Briefing about a project that is underway, the EU Ambassador informed that the EU has allocated 6.6 million Euros for the capacity build of civil society organization in Pakistan for which the participants were should explore online EU platforms for further information.

Addressing a gathering of rural women representing more than 80 districts of Pakistan, the Ambassador said that you need to come out of the small box that has been assigned to you traditionally to explore and discover the opportunities and the world around you.

Terming CNIC registration the foundation to get rights cherished by the citizens, the EU Ambassador said we have made it mandatory for the local organizations to help women to get their CNICs. “If you don’t have your identity documents, it means neither you were born nor dead as no documentation means you were not meant to be counted in policies and decisions concerning to you.” The EU Ambassador paid rich tribute to the rural women participants for their persistent, resilience and untiring efforts for their basic rights. “We are also changing the design of our projects to ensure visible and major participation of women to take a decision concerning to them,” the EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said.

The Ambassador also highlighted the role of the EU for the plight of the poor segments of the society and said that they have already allocated 150 million in COVID response efforts here in Pakistan.

President PODA-Pakistan, Sameena Nazir said we need to alleviate women from poverty and for this economic independence is a must for them to achieve as it would ensure their responsibility and rights in the society.

The ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara distributed awards among the rural women and other persons who contributed to the achievements of PODA-Pakistan.

The rural women identified an increase in child marriages due to COVID-19 and demanded that the government should take the necessary measures to implement the early child marriage restraint act to stop child marriages and to set-up mechanisms to monitor the situation at grassroots level.

They also demanded the government take measures to compensate and support losses women farmers have suffered on their agricultural produce and livestock. A delegation of lady health workers also raised their demands to regularize their services from the rural women conference’s platform.