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Working women rights’ bill to be tabled in NA

By: Farehia Rehman

ISLAMABAD – To create safe working environment for women folk, the government is poised to table ‘The Protection against Harassment at the Workplace Bill, 2009’ in the upcoming session of the National Assembly for passage, TheNation has learnt on Thursday.

Women the world over, more so in Pakistan, have been subjected to varying degrees of discrimination, exploitation and violence. Harassment at workplace is a very serious issue as it relates to the right of women to live with dignity.

To protect women against harassment at workplace, the government had taken special measures by starting formulation of the bill titled ‘The Protection against Harassment at the Workplace Bill, 2009″, which had been laid in the House on April 10, 2009.

Recently, on June 27, 2009, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Women Development had reviewed the report and recommendations of the sub-committee on the bill and referred it back to the sub-committee to discuss it further with the concerned ministers to remove gaps and contradictions highlighted by the Committee.

When the women parliamentarians working on the bill were contacted, TheNation learnt that the bill is now in final stages and it would be tabled during next NA session.

They opined that the government was committed to work for the welfare of women and to create enabling atmosphere for them so that they could work with dignity.

In this regard, they said that the proposed bill is aimed at ensuring safety for working women.

According to available details, the code of conduct and procedure has also been included in the bill so that the women could act accordingly when harassed at workplace.

This code provides behavioural guidelines for all employees, including management of the organisation for ensuring a working environment free of harassment.

An official of the Ministry of Women Development, seeking anonymity, said that legislation had great importance for protecting rights of women, but at the same time implementation of laws is also necessary.

“Most of the women especially those belonged to rural areas even are not aware about the legislations and much more needs to be done for protecting women rights,” he added.

He described that presently 25 women crises centres were operational in the country to provide justice and protection against violence but there was a dire need to strengthen these centres for reaching out to more and more deprived women.
Source: The Nation

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