PESHAWAR: The Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is preparing a draft of women empowerment and gender equality policy that will be finalised by December this year.
“We are going to incorporate suggestions of the government departments and civil society and finalise the draft,” said PCSW chairperson Zubaida Khatoon.
The PCSW in collaboration with social welfare and women development department and financial assistance of UN Women held a consultative discussion on Thursday with the officials of government departments and members of civil society to incorporate their suggestions in the draft.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Khatoon said that provinces were required to devise their own policy regarding women empowerment after passage of 18th Amendment.
The UN Women supported initiation of the process in all the four provinces. Azad Jammu and Kashmir has already approved its own policy. “Sindh and Balochistan have also prepared their drafts but Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are lagging behind,” said Ms Khatoon.
Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Sitara Ayaz said that the process should be expedited and views of government and civil society members should be incorporated to make it a complete draft policy.
The suggestions of the participants would be incorporated in the draft that would be also open for review after a week, said Amina Qadir, representative of UN Women.
The final draft would be presented to the cabinet for approval although some of the participants suggested that it was not
Women empowerment necessary to get the policy approved by the cabinet.
The draft policy is aimed at empowering women of the province in all spheres especially social, economic, legal, personal and political life.
“When we talk about empowerment of women, especially economic empowerment, we also expect a change in the mindset of the society towards women, taking equal part in social and economic life,” said Ms Khatoon.
To ensure its implementation, the draft suggests that overview and monitoring of the policy will be responsibility of the provincial government.
A committee, having representation of all departments’ focal persons and headed by chief secretary, will review and ensure twice a year that the policy decisions are implemented, according to the draft policy.
The draft policy suggests affirmative actions to promote women in political process, provide them quality healthcare, reduce gender gap in getting education, create employment opportunities and remove imbalances in all sectors of socio-economic development for mainstreaming gender in all development work.
It also suggests strengthening legal systems to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and encouraging public-private partnership to change mindset and social attitudes that limit the potential and freedom of women.