MPAs for protecting home-based workers’ rights
KARACHI – Women members of Sindh Assembly, representing treasury and opposition benches, here Friday pledged to unanimously support the cause of gender sensitivity, including provision for economic empowerment of women and excluded groups.
Actively participating in a session organised by Home Net-Pakistan and UN Women to mark World Home Based Workers (HBW) Day they also committed to rise above their respective political affiliations to help actual implementation of laws for protection of rights, coupled with social, political and financial empowerment of women and the members of transgender community.
They on the occasion demanded speedy finalisation of the Rules of Business for the HBWs Act that was approved by the Sindh Assembly in May 2018, however, is yet to be implemented.
Sindh Minister for Women Development, Shehla Raza said the provincial government is committed to protect the rights of HBWs and the law introduced for the purpose was fast on its way of implementation.
“We are linking up the HBWs with other streams of women empowerment network at district level in order to bring them to a level where they are able to take their decisions and acquire the rightful benefits they are entitled to as a community,” she said.
The minister mentioned that province had also entered into an agreement with the Government of Japan for strengthening HBWs and facilitating products development on their part with equal attention towards better businesses opportunities for them.
MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi, representing Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) said the law related to HBWs was a significant achievement of the PPP government, however, need was that of its early and efficient implementation.
“Despite being part of a major work-force HBWs remain hidden and unrecognized,” said the parliamentarian representing her constituency for their third consecutive of the assembly.
Expressing her satisfaction that women members of the provincial assembly are on the same page, the senior MPA said once the HBW Act 2018 was implemented their right to be registered as a worker would be recognized ensuring that they avail of the social security and other relevant benefits.
“It is the need of hour to recognize the contribution of the workers contributing to the economy from their homes,” Nusrat Seher Abbasi said.
The MPA also appreciated the online platform set up by HomeNet Pakistan for direct marketing of the HBWs products.
“The registration of HBWs and their access to the social security would not only empower in a holistic manner but also help them earn better,” said Sidra Imran the PTI MPA from Sindh.
Highlighting the importance of the unionization of the workers in the home base sector, she said the federal government too was committed to strengthen the women labour force with equal provision for their recognition at every level.
Sindh Secretary for Women Development, Alia Shahid said the notification related to Women Economic Empowerment Council, will address the gaps in order to address a smooth pathway for the economic empowerment of the women across sectors.
A senior official of provincial labour department, Farrukh Zaidi in his brief remarks said the rules of business related to HBW Act 2018 was presently being vetted by the law department and assured that these would be forwarded to before the assembly in a week’s time.
MPA Marvi Rashdi, Chairperson of Sindh Commission of Status, Nuzhat Shirin, Director of PILER and senior labour rights activist Karamat Ali, Majyd Aziz from Employers Federation of Pakistan, Executive Director of HomeNet Pakistan, Ume Laila Azhar along with home based workers from different parts of the province also addressed the ceremony.
MPAs Mangla Sharma, Heer Soho, Shahazad Wali, Tanzila Habiba, Adeeba Arif, Sarwat Fatima, Regional Director of Aurat Foundation, Mehnaz Rehman and Naheed Syed of Home Net Pakistan (Sindh) and a large number of human rights activists were also present on the occasion.
Some 30 HBWs were presented shields by the MPAs and activists in recognition of their outstanding work in terms of innovation, leadership, mobilisers etc.