Equal rights for women not yet ensured: report
PESHAWAR – A study conducted by the Zakat, Ushr, Social Welfare and Women Development department, NWFP, has pinpointed Pakistan’s failure to fulfil its international commitments in respect of ensuring equal rights for women.
“Pakistan has so far failed in ensuring equality for women,” notes the study conducted in connection with the provincial government’s under-preparation gender reforms action plan (Grap).
In 1985, Pakistan became a party to the Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, a covenant adopted by the United Nations conference held in Nairobi. Being a member of the UN, Pakistan is also a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that underlines equal rights for men and women.
However, none of the successive governments could manage to fulfil the country’s obligations under the two international commitments. Pakistan is also bound to ensure rights for women after having signed a convention for the elimination of discrimination against women in 1996 and the ILO convention which stipulates ‘equal pay for equal value of work’.
“In spite of all these initiatives and international commitments signed by the government, the…women in Pakistani society remain disadvantaged and subordinated at all levels,” the study says.
It goes on to add that “economic, political and social disparities continue to persist in all spheres of public and private life.” The study analyzes different aspects of society’s behaviour and some of the policy measures introduced by successive governments.
“The combined efforts of General Zia-ul-Haq’s Shariah laws and the upsurge of tribal and feudal practices (in the wake of ineffective and flawed judicial processes) reinforced popular male attitudes and perceptions,” says the study.
This situation has contributed to an atmosphere where discriminatory treatment with women is readily accepted, according to the study. It pinpoints several loopholes in the public sector policy framework, development and planning processes which, it says, are hampering equal rights for women.