Conference urges social security benefits for women workers through enactment or amendment in respective laws
LAHORE: Speakers at a conference urged the need to install concrete mechanisms for implementation of Women Empowerment Package 2012 at district and tehsil levels to ensure that the benefits of the package reach women living in remote and far-flung districts of Punjab.
The conference, which was titled “The Gender Agenda: Gaining momentum”, was held at the Punjabi Complex to mark the International Women’s Day. It was organised by Mumkin Alliance, an alliance of provincial, national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are working to combat violence against women in collaboration with the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (PILAC).
Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Punjab Ombudsperson representative Mira Phailbus, Punjab Women Development Department Secretary Irum Bukhari, Concerned Citizens of Pakistan Chairperson Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal, Action Aid Regional Director Daud Saqlain, South Asia Partnership Pakistan Deputy Director Ifran Mufti and Mumkin Alliance Coordinator Shazia Shaheen were present on the occasion.
It was resolved by the Mumkin Alliance members and participants of the conference that the government of Punjab should ensure application of all rights and entitlements to women workers according to the ILO ratified convention, large-scale registration of women workers contributing in the informal economy and viable legal mechanism should be established for the enforcement of minimum wage and facilities.
Mumkin Alliance also urged the government of Punjab to extend social security benefits currently applicable only to formal sector workers to women workers through enactment or amendment in their respective laws, ie, old age benefit and medical insurance. The conference was participated by women and girls representing teachers, students, non-formal schoolteachers, home-based workers and Alliance member organisations with a significant presence of men from different walks of life. A documentary of theatre performance was screened to emphasise upon the importance of women’s right to inheritance and their economic empowerment.
Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal stressed upon the need for immediate legislation of Domestic Violence Bill to “treat domestic violence” as a criminal offence and punishment of the perpetrators of the crime with imprisonment and hefty fine. Speaking on the Domestic Violence Bill, Begum Zakia Shanawaz said, “It would be our topmost priority if my party gets power.” Meanwhile, Women Development Department Secretary Irum Bukhari spoke about the successes the department has been able to make in the past year, including the induction of more women staff in public sector, appointment of provincial ombudsperson and policies oriented towards women’s rights.