Sindh Ombudsman Syed Peer Ali Shah has said that no country can make progress without contribution of women. He said this while lunching drive against harassment of women in the province at former Nazim Secretariat, here on Tuesday. “Out of total population in the country, the population of women are more than 50 per cent but due to various reasons, they could not contribute to national economy so far as it should have”, he said.
Among other issues, the harassment against women at workplace is one of them which hindered their performance as well as their contributions, he said. The Government of Sindh has passed the bill of anti-harassment and also set up special Ombudsman on the Harassment against women at workplace to protect women and thier rights, Shah said. Under the bill, each department including private and government has to form 3-member committee to hear the complaints and address them within department, he said, adding its proceeding would be kept secret to protect the dignity of complainant as no one can humiliate him in the society and office.
It is mandatory to form committee under section-3 of the Act with the organisation, he added. If any head of department or authority or owner of factories did not constitute the 3-member committee, fine ranging from minimum Rs 25000 to maximum 100000 would imposed on him, he said. Any woman, who is working as domestic worker, female peasant or any other female worker associated with informal sector, can lodge her complaint against any one and Ombudsman office would take all efforts to readdress her issues, he said. He quoted some examples of female domestic workers from Khairpur district in Sindh whose issues were resolved.
Since establishment of department, 87 complaints have been lodged. The majority of them were related to health, education and factories. Most of complaints have been lodged from Khairpur district of Sindh, he claimed. There is not any major punishment under this bill, but there is huge fines. However in the government departments if the charges are proved against any employee, he would be reverted and would lose his promotions or increments, Shah said.
In the formal sector, the different procedure would be adopted to punish any one found to be guilty, he said, adding the Ombudsman has power to summon and punish any one whoever the owner of factories or landlord, if he is found to be guilty. “We are launching the campaign for creating awareness among the people especially women as they could lodge their complaints with us, if they were facing any grievance like harassment, he said. Reply to a question, he said that there were various forms of harassment.