Workshop: 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence: Progress and Challenges around Rights of Women in Pakistan

Date: December 03, 2020

Summary: Transparency International Pakistan organized a webinar on December 03, 2020 to commemorate “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence”. The webinar was attended by prominent young women activists, civil society representatives and general citizens.

In line with the 2020 global theme” “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”, the webinar aimed to raise awareness about the rights of women and challenges being faced by women on daily basis.

The session was kicked off by Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed, Project Coordinator, TI Pakistan who highlighted the key points of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign. He was followed by Ms. Nazish Farima, President Active Women Foundation who argued that the violation of women rights is a significant challenge in Pakistani society. She shared that Pakistan continues to fare poorly on the Gender Gap Index. She further highlighted that the rights of transgenders are equally important but mostly neglected in our conversations. Ms. Nazish emphasized that for women to effectively raise voice for their rights, it is important that women are active in politics.

Moving on, Ms. Parveen Mir, a social activist and development practitioner from Balochistan, discussed and highlighted challenges being faced by rural women in Pakistan particularly in the field of education and seeking health facilities. She highlighted that the challenges being faced by women have further exacerbated due to COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the perpetrators of domestic violence due to COVID-19 have found more time at home as a result of which the domestic violence has also increased. She also highlighted her own struggle to participate in local government elections and emphasized that there is a need to raise awareness among women about their rights and responsibilities.

Next, Mr. Anwar Mahar, Executive Director National Advocacy for Rights of Innocent discussed how his organization has been working in rural Sindh for the rights of women and fighting to end violence against them.

This was followed by Mr. Kashif Ali, Program Manager, TI Pakistan who gave a detailed overview of the recent important pro-women legislations in Pakistan. He highlighted that in the last few years, there have been important legislations ensuring the protection of rights of women such as The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act, 2019, the National Helpline 1099 to register the cases of domestic violence against girls and women. He also highlighted that the corruption is also the violation of human rights and most often women are disproportionately affected by corruption.

In the end, an open discussion was started in which participants shared their experiences and information to tackle the gender gap in Pakistan. It was agreed that such sessions should be conducted at grassroots level to sensitize women as well men.

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