KARACHI: Pakistan has achieved millennium development goal on number of women representation in parliament but there need a lot of work to be done for women empowerment and equity in the society.
This was stated during a book launching ceremony titled ‘In Search of Gendered Development: A Compendium’ at a local hotel by Social Policy and Development Centre. The book is a research work of several researchers and it was compiled and edited by Dr Kaiser Bengali.
Vice Chairman SPDC Javed Jabbar applauded the efforts of Kaiser Bengali for helping people to understand the gender inequity in several sectors in the society. He said that SPDC was unable to garner international support due to deteriorating law and order situation in the city which forces foreign intellectuals to stay away from their programs for security reasons.
He said that this book was not the last word on women rights instead it would stimulate debate on women rights. He said that the legislation on women rights should not be confined to a particular period. “33 percent representation to women in local bodies’ elections was given by then President General Musharraf,” he said.
Jabbar said that worldwide data showing women participation in different countries has several discrepancies. He said that the book would be translated in Urdu and other regional languages to make awareness among the women.
Giving a critical view on the book, Human Rights activist Tahira Abdullah said that book cover has depicted a woman dependent on men while it also does not have representation of transgenders.
“This book should not be considered a compendium as several issues faced by home-based workers women and women working in fields were not discussed in the book.”
She said that women movement has been pursuing for its rights since 1990s and far before and it was wrong to portray that only PPP government had contributed to women-related legislation. “Pro-women legislations were also passed in 1990, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006,” she said.
Kishwar Naheed also pointed out loopholes in the book and said that the issuer of women labour is neglected in the book. Naheed said that she had seen women constructing houses that were destroyed during floods in Sindh and Punjab.
She also rejected a perception that Baloch women do not go out to earn and said that their handicraft work is famous across the globe.
MPA Mehtab Akbar Rashidi said that books on women issues were need of the hour as they help in raising voice of women rights. Citing excerpts from the book, she said that whenever there is resettlement or a disaster, it is a woman who had to take care of her family but no attention has been given on their services for the society.
She said that the copies of this book should be sent to chief ministers and planning and development departments of the provinces for working on issues highlighted in the book.
She said that there are several incidents of violence against women but the reaction on it is very rare. “Civil society needs to be more reactive on these issues,” she said.
HRCP Secretary General I A Rehman applauded efforts of Kaiser Bengali and said that his efforts to present disaggregated data has helped understand the ages of women when they face torture and reasons behind it.
He said that there is dire need to raise issues of violence against minority women, non-implementation of inheritance laws and economic independence of women. He said that despite of women being inducted in several sectors of society including police and Pakistan Air Force but there is no representation of women in election reforms committee.