‘Women empowerment is a key to poverty eradication’

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak has said that “Women Empowerment” is a key to poverty eradication, building resilient societies, economies and promoting sustainable development. It is an essential component of human development and basic human right, he added.

He was addressing the inauguration ceremony of “Women Empowerment Policy” at CM House, Peshawar. The function was also addressed by Mrs. Meraj Humayun, Chairperson Women Parliamentary Caucus, Jamshed Qazi, Country Head Women Welfare Affairs UNO and other speakers who highlighted various steps of KP government for the welfare of women folk whereas besides the Deputy Speaker KP Assembly Dr. Mehertaj Roghani, Provincial Minister for Information Shah Farman Khan and some other provincial ministers, MPAs, was largely attended by women from different walks of life.

The Chief Minister said Provincial Government acknowledged the fact that advancement of women’s rights is a critical precondition for effective and sustainable development. Therefore, women empowerment is one of the primary focuses of the Provincial Government which is committed to take affirmative action to achieve this goal. He said the current Provincial Government has taken a number of steps and initiated many programs in field of education and health sectors, governance, access to legal justice and increasing employment opportunities for women. However, he maintained, there is still a long way to go. “Further efforts have to be made to fill in the gaps in women and especially girls education, their employment, access to credit, property and land rights and women’s access to justice besides their representation in the political, public and private spheres”, he added.

The Chief Minister said in order to address these multifaceted constraints and facilitate women empowerment in the Province in a systematic manner, the Provincial Government drafted the “Women Empowerment Policy” for creating enabling environment for women where they can take decisions for their betterment as a whole. He said it is with great pleasure that the KP Government has presented the updated version of the Policy which provides implementation level guidelines and actions for the stakeholders to work towards achieving its goals. “I appreciate the efforts of Women Parliamentary Caucus for elaborating the Policy document to make it implementable”, he added. He showed the confidence that with the consistency in efforts and focus, the government will be able to achieve the goal of women empowerment in KP.

Pervez Khattak said that “Women Empowerment Policy” aims at improving the overall Status of Women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through their socio-economic, political and legal empowerment. Its salient features include provision of quality health care, reducing gender gap in education, creation of employment and income generation opportunities to encourage their equal participation in all political processes and to ensure elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls through legislation and its effective implementation.

The Chief Minister said that the Policy is based on the principles of non-discrimination, gender equality, priority to the women in rural areas, recognition of the value of women in society, their contribution in all spheres of life, and women as equal partners in development and agents of change in economic, social and political processes. He said that the Provincial Cabinet has recently approved the amendments in the “Protection against Harassment of Women at Work place Act, 2010” which will definitely reduce and curb the menace of Harassment of Women at Workplaces. Besides, he said, the Provincial Government has already enacted the KP Commission on the Status of Women Act 2016 to make the Women Commission financially and administratively autonomous.

“For the welfare of Widows and dispossessed people, the Provincial Government has enacted the Lissaail-e-Wal Mahroom Foundation Act, 2015”, he added. Similarly, he said, the Provincial Government has also enacted the Senior Citizens Act, 2014 for the welfare of senior citizens of the province. “As we all know violence against women especially girls, is one of the most wide spread, persistent and devastating human rights issue in the world today, awareness at national level is need of the hour while in order to counter this deeply rooted violation, the “Domestic Violence” and “Burn Prevention & Rehabilitation” bills will soon be enacted by the Provincial Government. He said the Provincial Government has established a toll free helpline “Bolo and Badlo” in the Directorate of Social Welfare, Special Education & Women Empowerment Department Peshawar for reporting the cases of gender based violence throughout the province.

The Chief Minister said provincial government is well-aware of the fact that the working women of the society face multiple challenges in their day to day affairs especially with regard to their residential facility. For the purpose, the Provincial Government has established two working women hostels in Peshawar and Mardan while one in District Swat has also been included in the current year ADP 2017-18. He said the Provincial Government has also established a “Day Care Center” in the premises of the Civil Secretariat Peshawar for the working women which will soon be inaugurated and made functional. He said apart from the existing nine welfare homes already established in the province, the Provincial Government has also established two more welfare homes for destitute and orphans in District Hangu and Swabi. He said the Provincial Government has established one Darul Aman at District Mansehra while two more at District Chitral and Bannu are included in the current year ADP 2017-18. He hoped that all these achievements of the Provincial Government will bring a positive change towards Women related issues and implementation of Women Empowerment Policy will come up to the expectations and desired goals. He lauded the encouraging efforts of the Social Welfare Department, Women Parliamentary Caucus, Provincial Assembly and the UN Women Pakistan.

Pervez Khattak said that the 16 days International Activism Campaign is being celebrated throughout the province with an overarching theme “Leave No one Behind: End Violence against women especially the girls” with a commitment to establish a society free of violence for women and girls.