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‘Investment in gender equality could help improve societal conditions’

ISLAMABAD: Investment in gender equality, women’s empowerment and decent behaviour with the female folk at workplace could contribute in improving economic, social and political conditions of the society.

A survey carried out by Employers Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicates that the main objectives of the survey were to identify and select best practices of gender equality in terms of policies, programmes, behaviours and attitudes in government, textile, hospitality and media sectors. It should be within the given socio-economic, political and cultural parameters that are behind the development of best practices and their consequent impact on women’s practical and strategic needs.

Survey finds out that the gender equality does not imply that women and men are the same, but that they should be accorded equal treatment as human beings. Equal pay for equal work is one of the areas where gender equality is rarely seen; all too often women are paid less than men for doing the same work. This is one of the reasons that the majority of the world’s poor are women: around 70 percent of the people who live in extreme poverty, on less than one dollar a day income are girls and women.

Self-decision regarding education, participation, mobility, economic independence, public speaking, awareness and exercise of rights and many more factors ensure women empowerment. It is noteworthy that two third of people in the world who cannot read are females while in only 16 countries in the world, women’s representation in national parliament is above 25 percent.

Nearly, an estimated one-quarter to one half of all women have suffered physical abuse. Women have unequal access to economic resources, such as capital, credit, labour and land, and limited opportunities for employment and career advancement, which restricts their ability to improve their economic conditions.

According to Frida Khan, National Project Co-ordinator ILO, increase in women’s participation in labour force has not resulted in substantially narrowing gender gaps in the world of work, it is a positive sign that many employers are employing strategies to promote women in management, covering areas such as training, networking, monitoring, review of recruitment and promotion systems, family-friendly policies, awareness about sexual harassment and other positive actions like provision of maternity leave and work-life balance to make workplaces conducive for working women in the country.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:7/29/2011

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