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‘Bill on gender bias to be tabled again’

KARACHI, May 15: The draft bill on gender discrimination which could not get through the Sindh Assembly during the previous government’s tenure will be moved in the house again.

This was stated by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) member of the Sindh Assembly Ms Humera Alwani, who was confident that the bill would be adopted by the house this time.

Speaking at a press conference at the Sindh Assembly building on Thursday, the MPA reiterated her party’s stance that gender discrimination at workplaces was a form of “violence”. She was of the view that the victims of the bias appeared to be the womenfolk.

Ms Alwani said gender bias at workplace tantamount to usurping women’s fundamental rights, and said this form of violence badly affected women workers’ personality, dignity and performance, besides casting an adverse effect on employees and employer in particular, and society in general.

The MPA also distributed copies of the draft law among journalists, and said she would like to ascertain people’s opinion before it was submitting to the assembly secretariat for inclusion in the agenda of the house business. She recalled that it was she who had submitted the private bill to the PA secretariat in 2006 but the bill could not get through the assembly as the PPP was sitting on the opposition benches.

Now when our party enjoys a majority in the house, it will succeed in making laws to protect rights of the oppressed segments of society and restore their due status.

In reply to a question, she said that after ascertaining people’s opinion on the bill, the PPP legislation committee would have a review of the draft and incorporate valid suggestions into it before presenting it to the assembly for a debate.

Ms Alwani pointed out that, at present, there was no law to check gender discrimination or punish the culprits. As such, she added, police could not put hand on an accused even if they received any complaint from a victim.

She was of the view that gender discrimination at workplaces had become very common in almost every sector. “Women have been enduring physical harm and other form of abuses for long at their workplaces and also on the way to and from the venue… not only this, incidents of harassment do take place even in the assembly halls where women legislators are subjected to harassment by their male colleagues,” she pointed out.

The MPA vowed to bring all women organisations together to make joint efforts towards bringing an end to gender discrimination and ensure justice to women, especially at the workplaces.
Source: Dawn

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