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Labourer status sought for home-based workers

PESHAWAR: Speakers at the launching of a report here on Monday demanded of the government to give status of labourers to home-based women workers.

“The number of home-based women workers has reached 12 million in the country. Only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about 1.6 million home-based workers exist. They face exploitation at the hands of their employers owing to absence of relevant laws for their protection,” they said.

The report titled `Unacknowledged Treasures` has been compiled by Roots Equality, a non-governmental organisation.

Dr Azra Talat Saeed, the executive director of Roots Equality, said that the report was complied after carrying out a research study in 24 districts of the country.

The research revealed that home-based women were around 0.3 million in urban areas whereas in rural areas their number was about 8.5 million, she added.

Only in Punjab province, she said, the number of home-based women workers was 7.2 million while in Sindh it was 2.6 million. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the lowest number of home-based women workers while in Balochistan it was about 6.5 million, she added.

Dr Azra said that the poor women were exploited and forced to work for hours on minimum wages. They had no representative organisation to raise voice for their rights and force the employers to increase their wages, she said.

“Social restrictions and traditions were also responsible for problems of women workers,” she said, adding growing inflation was also compelling them to contribute to the earnings of their families.

Dr Azra said that around 41 per cent of the home-based women workers were earning less than Rs900 per month. She said that investors were exploiting women workers owing to lack of proper law.

Hameeda Akbar, the research coordinator of the organisation, narrated ordeals of home-based workers.

“During visits to different localities, it was observed that women were working in extremely unhygienic conditions,” she said.

She stressed the need for implementation of the pending policy about home-based workers. She demanded of the government to give status of labourers to home-based women workers.

Source: Dawn

Date:7/19/2011

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