‘Women now more aware of their rights’
HYDERABAD: Leaders and representatives of NGOs working for women’s rights have said that women today are more aware of their rights than before and have come out to protect them.
Speaking at a women’s assembly organised by Oxfam-GB and Aurat Foundation, they said that it was not fair to always talk about excesses against women and praised measures taken by the government to protect political, social, financial and legal rights of women.
Dr Masooma Hassan of Aurat Foundation said that in the past women were even deprived of their right to vote but a great transformation had taken place over the years and now women were participating in politics and almost every walk of life.
However, the situation was not yet satisfactory because many women were still facing problems, including violence but, she said, with the help of the free media the problems were immediately communicated to the authorities concerned.
MQM MPA Naheed Khan said that women were still deprived of many rights ordained in Articles 14 and 25 of the Constitution. It was the government’s responsibility to ensure that FIRs were registered in cases of excesses against women, she said.
She praised the federal government for enacting laws against harassment of women and stressed the need for their implementation in letter and spirit.
Despite enactment of laws, she said, jirga system, karo-kari and other black customs still existed in the country, particularly in rural areas of Sindh where women were treated like cattle and deprived of their rightful share in inheritance.
Chief Executive of Oxfam-GB, Barbra Stocking, said that under her organisation’s “Raising her voice” campaign women groups had been formed in 17 countries to develop leadership qualities among women and create awakening about their rights.
She said that the groups would participate in politics and other fields of endeavour and also struggle for equal rights.
Noreen Khalida of Oxfam said that such groups had been formed in 30 districts of Pakistan with a membership of 1,500. More than 45,000 women had been registered by the groups, she said. She praised the efforts made by the government for educating girls and providing financial assistance to women.