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AWAM demands protection of women workers against exploitation, violence

Government must protect women workers from exploitation, violence and bondage. This was demanded by the participants in a network meeting that was organized by Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) entitled “Formation of District level Network and Development of Linkages with relevant Stakeholders” held at Unity hall in Faisalabad. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a forum for women workers at district level and improve the linkages of women workers regarding formal and informal sectors with institutions, also create a safe and secure environment for them.

Speakers demanded that government must ensure health care and safety protection to women workers and specify code of conduct for gender justice to the interest of women workers, and create safe working environment that should be free of harassment, abuse and intimidation, where women could feel secure and perform their duties more smoothly.

Speaking on the event, the district officer of the social welfare department, Chaudary Ashraf said, “Women workers belong to a marginalized group, there is need to bring them at mainstream. It is a very challengeable task to launch a forum for women workers at district level.

This forum will help to provide information to women workers about their rights. It also helps them shaping a practical life. Hence, women workers can start their shops and business at small scale to earn money by getting small grants from bait ul maal, removing the perception that men workers only can run business. Sanatzar will train deserving women workers with different skills in free of cost.

Scholarships and stipend will also be awarded to women whose age ranges from 18 to 35 years. Women workers must be given benefit of education by trainings and learning skills,” he added.

A trade unionist, Aslam Wafa said, “There is lack of unity, hard work and belief among women worker. Women workers should organize themselves and speak against violence, injustice and exploitation and resolve their problems by becoming a part of trade union or associations.

There is lack of schools for the children of brick kiln workers. “The environment for women brick kiln workers is not appropriate. There is need to introduce a proper mechanism to create safe and secure environment for brick kiln, and register brick kiln workers with NADRA, ESSI and EOBI to get their CNIC, social security cards and EOBI cards issued by the authorities,” Anwar Bibi said.

The supervisor of the model bazar Faisalabad, Flower Emmanuel (Supervisor-Model bazar) said, “Model bazar, Jhang road is a safe and secure place. Women workers who are interested to get a shop, they can submit their applications to DCO and start their shops and can get easy access to market.

The project manager of the AWAM, Shazia George said, “There are total 240 shops at Model bazar, Jhang road including 239 male and only 01 female shopkeeper. The government has announced 15% quota for women employment.

By following this, there must be 36 female shops. The shops must be vacant and allotted to women workers so they could earn money with respectable employment. Most of the public and private organisations’ employees and bosses remain unaware regarding the act of protection of women against sexual harassment at work place. They also don’t know which forums to approach in cases of harassment.

Government must implement pro-women legislation and labor laws in true sense. Government must protect women workers from sexual harassment,” she added.

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