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‘Punjab did well in ensuring women’s political, economic empowerment’

LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar saw significant progress towards ending women’s exclusion from public sector jobs in the Punjab province.

“Some remarkable policies have been introduced during the recent years to enhance women’s political participation and economic empowerment at every level,” said Fouzia Viqar, chairperson, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) at the seminar “tracking Punjab performance on quota for women’ here Tuesday. An NGO ‘Peace and Development Foundation’ (PDF), in collaboration with NCA, arranged the seminar.

“Punjab has shown a remarkable development in ensuring economic empowerment of women and various government departments are now responding to maximum number of jobs for women against the 15% job quota for women and 5% job quota for minorities.

However, the real challenge before us is the proper implementation on these pro-women policies and to remove and redress the impediments,” said the PCSW chairperson. Fouzia Viqar said 1039 departments had responded positively on the implementation of the quotas. “Efforts are being made to remove other impediments in the way of implementation”.

Earlier, Romana Bashir, executive director, PDF, presented a detailed outlook of the women empowerment and issues that women from minorities were facing in Pakistan on various fronts. “We need to beef up our efforts to raise awareness in the society and government departments about the real benefits of these positive measures,” she added. She said, “we could contribute in the development, progress and prosperity of Pakistan by providing our women equal opportunities in every walk of life including women from religious minorities”. Punjab Assembly’s former member Saadia Sohail Rana belonging to the PTI said women’s political and economic empowerment should be dealt on a non-partisan basis. She said women’s participation in the parliament should be enhanced for their political and economic empowerment and enhanced public participation. Waqar Mustafa shared his research with the participants and said some positive indicators could be seen regarding enhanced participation of women in public life and their joining of various public departments. However, he said a general lack of awareness was still a huge issue that needed immediate attention at policy to implementation level. He said women should be provided enabling environment at workplace. Religious scholars Allama Mufti Ashiq Hussain and Hafiz Muhammad Nauman, and Irfan Mufti, executive director SAP-Pakistan highlighted the importance of women’s public participation in the light of religious teachings and said efforts should be made to raise awareness in the society on the constructive role of women.

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