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‘Gender equality precondition for reducing poverty’

ISLAMABAD: Gender equality is a precondition for meeting the challenges of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance. Mazhar Hashmi, Deputy Director General, Federal Bureau of Statistics, said this while addressing ‘International Conference on Gender Mainstreaming in Planning and Development’ here on Thursday. Najwa Ksaifi, ILO Gender Expert from Yemen, Nesrin Cobanoglu, Head, Women Research Studies Centre, Gazi University, Turkey, Dr Ritu Dewan, Professor Gender Economics, Mumbai University and Dr Feroza Ahmed, Expert Gender Studies also attended the conference.

Mazhar said purpose of holding the gender mainstreaming conference is to review gender and statistics, advocacy for establishment of gender disaggregated database and measuring success from the gender perspective. A nation cannot progress until women are provided equal opportunities in all the fields, he added. Dr Nesrin said since the establishment of Turkey, there has been a movement of modernisation in many areas of society such as law, economy whereas the issue of the women status has taken much prominence. She said like other women of the world, Turkish women have also been struggling for having equal rights since the early days of the Republic.

Rate of women employment in Turkey is only 24.3 percent while women representation in the parliament is only 4.2 percent, only 24 out of 550 and at the local government it is only 1 percent whereas women participation in the other decision-making bodies is also extremely low, she added. However, the new Turkish Penal Code accepted by Turkish parliament fails to criminalise honour killings and instead of using this exclusive term that define murders committed in the name of honour, the parliament insists on the way to less inclusive term of ‘custom killings’. Moreover, the justification of the same article opens the possibility for a sentence reduction in the case of unjust provocation.

Dr Ritu Dewan said the absence of gender incorporation and analysis in development, planning and also anti-poverty strategies lead not only to misallocation of resources but also virtually denies the very existence of households as well as vulnerable sections. Najwa Ksaifi said ILO objective is the promotion of opportunities for women and men to obtain productive work in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity.

She said the concept of productive work integrates the four pillars of ILO activities that include labour standards, rights, employment, social protection and social dialogue between the government, workers and employers organisations. The ILO promotes gender mainstreaming strategy through various channels, promoting International Labour Standards by rectification of Conventions on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation, Equal Remuneration, Workers with Family Responsibilities and Maternity Protection.

Dr Feroza said Millennium Development Goals include eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction in child mortality, improvement of maternal health, HIV/AIDS, Malaria prevention, environmental stability, global partnership for development. She said the country cannot prosper without women empowerment that is possible only through gender mainstreaming.

Source: B/Recorder

Date:1/19/2007

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