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Need stressed to modify laws on women

KARACHI – Chief of the National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) Justice (r) Majida Rizvi on Sunday said that there were various laws that were discriminatory towards women, and stressed the need for identifying and modifying the same.

She was speaking at a ceremony held here on Sunday to award certificates to the participants of a six-day workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting, organized by an NGO, the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC).

Justice Rizvi said that the Citizenship Act had already been identified as discriminatory towards women but despite efforts put in by various NGOs, activists, etc., a little success had been achieved to get it reviewed.

Similarly, the Hudood Ordinance and other such laws also appeared discriminatory, she said, adding that the commission had formulated recommendations after holding consultations with the scholars belonging to various schools of thought and experts in different fields. However, she regretted, a remarkable progress in this matter also was yet to be seen.

The NCSW chief told the audience that the biased laws had seriously affected the womenfolk. The number of women prisoners, majority of them facing trials under Hudood laws, had multiplied many times following the promulgation of such laws.

Speaking about the gender budgeting course, she said that the government had announced a number of programmes on different occasions for the uplift of womenfolk. However, budgetary allocations for many of such programmes had not made.

She hoped that techniques of gender budgeting taught at the workshop would help assess such allocations. She described knowledge of gender budgeting as an important step towards achieving gender equality.

Katrin Schneider, a gender expert from Germany who had conducted this workshop, besides another two such events earlier, said that she had noticed an increasing interest in gender responsive budgeting which was reflected in the Pakistan’s policy documents, such as Gender Reform Action Plan.

“It is still the woman who is responsible for reproductive labour that includes caring for children and the sick, cooking, cleaning, etc., all of which is not included in the national accounting system, although it contributes to a high degree to the welfare of the society,” she pointed out.

Dr Kaiser Bengali, chief of the SPDC, said that his organization was trying to create a pool of experts in the technique of gender budgeting who could deliver as and when a decision was taken to implement the programme in the national, provincial or district budgeting process.

The objectives of the workshop were to integrate knowledge and carry out training on gender responsive budgeting with national representatives, civil servants and provincial administration; to share successful interventions regarding gender responsive budgeting initiatives by the government; to extend assistance in the implementation of gender reforms action plans; to assess achievements and constraints, as well as to build a knowledge management strategy at the regional level. Later, certificates were awarded to the participants of the workshop.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/11/2004

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