ISLAMABAD: Representatives from more than 100 civil society organisations from all over the country on Friday expressed their resolve to work together for women rights.
The declaration was made at an event organised by the Aurat Foundation’s (AF) Gender Equity Programme (GEP), supported by the USAID.
The participants demanded a 33 percent quota for women in the local government and suggested that the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) chairperson should represent women in all policymaking forums at the highest government level, including the cabinet. They also called for the immediate revival of the Gender Reform Action Plan.
Speaking on the occasion, USAID Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb said, “The women in Pakistan, hand in hand with men, are playing a crucial role in the development and prosperity of their country. The Aurat Foundation, through its Gender Equity Programme continues to enable these courageous women to realise their potential and claim their rights.”
The gathering of civil society organisations under GEP’s Pakistan Gender Coalition (PGC) was part of the GEP’s annual event organised to highlight the project achievements in the past three years. Currently, there are 154 partner civil society organisations and government institutions connected through the PGC.
The event titled ‘Rights Secured-Society Empowered’ featured experience-sharing meetings, showcasing three year’s work by sub-grantees, sixth meeting of the GEP’s National Advisory Forum and theatre performance by the Interactive Resource Centre (IRC).
During the four-day event, over 50 beneficiaries shared their stories of how they utilised USAID funding, through the Aurat Foundation, to promote gender equity all over the country. “We want to see an end to violence against women,” said Nusrat Bibi, a beneficiary.
AF Chief Operating Officer Naeem Ahmed Mirza said PGC would work as an advocacy forum from where unanimous voices would be raised for women and human rights.
GEP Chief of Party Simi Kamal said GEP was a unique project that tried to tackle hard realities in Pakistan. “GEP is working for economic and social empowerment of women so that they can lead a dignified life in society,” she said.
GEP is a five-year grant-making programme of the Aurat Foundation supplemented by the USAID and implemented in collaboration with The Asia Foundation. This programme builds upon the government’s own gender policies and aims at closing the gender gap in Pakistan by proactively supporting the development of women.