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Women demand more space in public transport

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan celebrated the National Working Women’s Day on Saturday with the aim to honour working women and convey a message to society that women’s role in nation building cannot be ignored.

The objective of observing the day on December 22 every year is to recognise the contribution made by working women in social uplift, and urge policy- maker to uphold their rights.

On Saturday, working women demanded increasing the number of seats reserved for them in public transport vehicles, saying that it is a major challenge for them to have a seat, especially during the days when CNG is not available.

Talking to APP on Saturday, a lawyer, Shahida Sukhera, said that every working-class woman leaving her house for professional responsibilities had to use public transport in order to reach her destination, but they had to wait for hours at bus terminals to get a seat. She said that only two front seats were reserved for women in public vans plying on different routes of the city, which was not enough to cater to their needs, as a large number of women were working nowadays.

“Now our nation is enjoying the affects of women empowerment as women are producing much better results as compare to their male colleagues, but no one is ready to give them facilities according to their needs,” said Aisha Khan, a doctor.

She said that women commuters also faced a number of problems, including ogling and derogating remarks by conductor and other male commuters. Saima, who works in the Blue Area, said, “Conductors bother us and move the vans even before we are seated. If we ask them wait until we are properly be-seated they shout in an insulting way.”

Another commuter, Sofia, said, “Women feel insecure and uncomfortable sitting in this way and therefore they usually pay double the fare for sitting alone in the front seat.” Nadia Malik, a government employee, said that women in overloaded public vans were particularly vulnerable because everyone seemed wanting to pounce upon them like his legitimate prey.

Islamabad Capital Territory Women Programme Officer Seema Tauseef said there was a dire need to increase the number of reserved seats for women in public transport vehicles, as travelling and shelter were the biggest challenges for women nowadays.

She said the idea of plying separate buses on specific routes, including Secretariat and Blue Area, should also facilitate women where a majority of women employees travelled daily to discharge their professional duties.

Rahana Hashmi from Sisters Trust said that in the last few years, women’s contribution in factories, agriculture sector, hospitals, academic institutions, and on decision-making posts in the public and private institutions was much more. “A number of legislations have been passed to protect women’s rights. But these laws will be beneficial only if they are implemented properly in every nook and corner of the country.”

She condemned the killing of polio workers in Charsadda, Nowshera and Karachi, who were serving the humanity.

Rehana also stressed the need for expediting the process of legislations on lingering bills of domestic violence against women and protection of home-based workers in order to ensure a secure and valuable position for them in society.

Daily Times