KARACHI – Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, Secretary, Information, Government of Sindh, emphatically stated that economic empowerment of women was the basic and fundamental reality instrumental in reducing violence against women.
She was speaking at an inaugural session of provincial plenary workshop to feed back policy recommendation arising from the findings of The Social Audit of Abuse Against Women (SAAAW) organised by the CIET (Community Information Empowerment and Training), in collaboration with the Women’s Development Department, Government of Sindh, with June 22 at a local hotel.
Keeping in view the peculiar situation of the society, people should specify each other’s problems, she said, adding that Social Audit of Abuse Against Women was a new concept and the efforts made in this direction were laudable.
However, she said that it was not a matter of one day but was a continuous process. It was the responsibility of the state and society, she said, that incidents of abuse against women be nipped in the bud. The legislators, she believed, must come up with some sort of law against this menace.
Lack of education, she contended, was the major cause of women being abused and feeling insecure at the hands of their own family members.
She did not hold men solely responsible for abuse of women, saying that in many cases, it was the women who created an environment within the home which disturbed men mentally thus resulting in different types of abuse such as harsh language and physical assault.
She further said that there were different perception of abuse of women. Some women considered mere stares from men as abuse which, she opined, could be ignored and tolerated. According to her being assaulted or hurt physically by men fell in the category of women’s abuse.
In a society like ours, she said, both men and women being employed would mitigate and combat anti-social trends such as battering of women. Economically empowered and educated women could not spare time for domestic violence, she observed.
Unemployment, she said, was another factor which caused tension in the home and if a woman were allowed to go out to work to cater to her children’s and family requirements, the trend towards maltreatment of women would considerably diminish.
With regard to the establishment of complaint centres, she said it must be ensured by the government that these could provide security and protection to the women coming to register their complaints.
After the recitation of the Holy Quran, Farzana Saleem, Director, Women’s Development, Government of Sindh, highlighted the aims and objectives of the SAAAW. There were two sessions of the workshop.
Another session was chaired by Ghulam Sarwer Khero Additional Chief Secretary (Development), Government of Sindh, who emphasised the vital role played by the NGOs in creating awareness among women and their empowerment.
Others who spoke on the occasion included, Dr Anne Cockcroft, Country Programme Manager, CIET in Pakistan, Dr Socorro L Reyes Senior Gender Adviser, Gender Support Programme, UNDP Pakistan and Faiza Effendi, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan.
Source: The News