Women continue facing harassment despite legislation -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Women continue facing harassment despite legislation

* Female workers say officers block their salaries, benefits, promotions; seek ‘favours’ from them

* Demand govt establish infrastructure to provide protection to women in society

By Imran Chaudhry

LAHORE: Crimes against women continue at workplaces across the board, as the provincial government is unable to implement the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2009.

In a survey conducted by Daily Times, female government and private-sector employees complained about the abusive behaviour of their male colleagues as well as senior officers.

They said, on condition of anonymity, that some officers deliberately used tactics to block their salaries, benefits, promotions as well as transfers and postings unnecessarily, seeking ‘undue favours’ from them.

During the survey, Naseem Akhtar, a female employee of the Population Welfare Department appointed at Lahore General Hospital as the female welfare counsel, claimed that she faced discrimination from her male officers during her over 20 years of service in the public sector.

She said her daughter, Aruj, was also a government employee in the same department as a female welfare worker and currently deputed in Sahiwal. She said that earlier Aruj had been deputed in the Welfare Centre at Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore and District Population Welfare Officer Amjad Farooq attempted to ‘abuse’ her during a meeting at his office on March 2.

No action: Naseem added that she and her daughter approached the secretary, additional secretary and deputy director (Admin) of the Population Department as well as the Green Town police and Chief Minister’s Complaint Cell to lodge a case against the accused officer, but to no avail.

She said she knew of several cases of harassment against women at the hands of their officers in the government and private sectors, but due to insufficient facilities for women to protect themselves against such practices, they had failed to get justice.

Some female workers, narrating personal experiences, said that they were still facing appalling situations at their workplaces, while the government had passed the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2009 but had failed to implement it.

Infrastructure: They demanded the government establish an infrastructure to provide protection in the real sense if it was sincere in protecting women in society.

On the issue, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MPA Sajida Mir, while talking to Daily Times, said that the federal government had passed the legislation against the harassment and now it was the need of the hour that the provincial governments ensure its implementation.
Source: Daily Times