Sunday October 24, 2021

Govt drafts 2-year gender roadmap for equality

September 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government has drafted a two-year gender roadmap for integration across all national policies, programmes, offices and key management processes to empower women so they can actively take part in the country’s sustainable development and economic growth.

Minister of Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a high-level meeting in this regard on Saturday, where member social sector and devolution presented the draft gender roadmap.

The roadmap has been designed to close the gender gap in education and employment, simultaneously empowering the young women to yield a substantive SDG dividend that can in turn catalyse the economic growth of Pakistan.

The agenda of gender development and equality has been taken up as a national priority by the current government. The final gender roadmap is a key product emerging from months’ long nation-wide iterative consultations engaging the National Youth Council, academicians, subject experts, national task forces, youth voices from across the globe, government officials and development partners. Several high impact interventions were discussed to mainstream gender across all key priorities.

The packages of high impact strategic interventions were proposed keeping in view the confronting challenges to inform mindful investment in closing the gender gap and creating equitable opportunities for women and girls.

Umar underscored the importance of gender-transformative workplaces. He desired that a policy framework be developed based on deliberations and rapid research, identifying the current barriers faced by women in public and private sector organisations.

Key recommendations outlined in the framework should not only guide development of a public sector programme, but must also be supported by necessary legal instruments to make the working environment conducive and progressive for women.

Umar expressed concern over the rising number of out-of-school children following the pandemic globally as well as in Pakistan, sharing the government’s intent in tackling this challenge as a national priority.

He highlighted the need for exploiting the e-school experiences from the pandemic and using Covid-19 as an opportunity for introducing innovative e-solutions, e-schools and accelerated learning programmes for reaching out of school children.

Reviewing the proposed innovative employment generating and skill-building strategies, Umar advised that the same be reviewed in tandem with the existing interventions under the Kamyab Jawan Programme to consolidate efforts and resources under one umbrella for an optimum impact. The importance of dedicated transport facilities for young women was highlighted for both accessing educational and employment opportunities. The minister desired for a comprehensive proposal to be presented in this regard in the coming week.

Emphasising the national priority accorded to gender empowerment and the urgency to respond to the current situation, he asked for the proposed two-year roadmap to be presented before sectoral experts, industry, leaders, and policy think tanks to seek their inputs before finalising the policy.