KARACHI: Women’s commission made fully functional
By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI, Sept 7: A three-day strategy building workshop organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) for its members began here on Thursday. Chairperson of the commission Dr Arifa Syeda Zehra said that the workshop, which is a part of an UNDP-funded project, ‘Institutional Strengthening of NCSW’, had been organised to develop the strategic programme of the commission for the next three years. She said that instead of generalising on gender concepts, this workshop would focus on the study of specifics of the ground situation, like tribal laws and customary practices/attitudes, including those affecting minority women, and their implications; political participation of women like right to vote, candidature and involvement in decision-making process; socio-economic conditions like population, health, education empowerment, environment, employment, etc; and other related issues.
She said that the members would also review the National Plan of Action, the National Plan for Development and Empowerment of Women, the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Gender Reform Action Plan and the CEDAW to come up with a strategic advocacy plan of the Commission. She said that the workshop would provide a direction to the commission whereas further support could be directed and/or solicited from the government and other relevant organisations on the basis of this strategic programme. Under the project, some of the commission members would also visit other countries like Jordan, India and Philippines, where similar women commissions were functioning, to learn from their experiences, she added.
According to her, an international conference would be organised in Lahore in November this year where women delegates, actively working in the field of women empowerment and gender issues, would be invited so that they could share their experiences with their local counterparts. Delegates from Nepal, Bangladesh, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America were also expected to attend the moot. Dr Arifa said that the commission was a statutory body working for the emancipation of the women, equalisation of socio-economic and other opportunities and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
The main functions of the NCSW included examining the policies, programmes and other measures taken by the government for women development and review all policies, laws, rules and regulations affecting women’s status and rights in relation with gender equality. The NCSW chairperson said that the commission had not been fully operational for a couple of years as a majority of its members had retired and no meeting could be held for want of quorum. However, she said, after the new members having been nominated now, the commission had become fully functional. Members of the commission are Shahida Haider, Dr Perveen Shah, Ms Simi Kamal, Naheed Ali, Prof Mehr Taj Roghani, Dr Tahira Kamal, Prof Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Erum Wali Khan, Dr Begum Jan, Dr Feroza Ahmad, Ashi Chanda, Dr Faqir Hussain, Dr Tufail Hashmi, besides the secretaries of the Finance, Women Development and Human Rights Divisions who are ex-officio members.