Women vow to defend gender equality
ISLAMABAD: Women from different spheres Tuesday expressed the resolve not to allow a rollback of the national gender reform agenda, particularly women’s political representation in the local government system and gender mainstreaming in bureaucracy.
The commitment came in a seminar on “National Gender Reform Agenda: State Responsive and Accountability,” organised by the Aurat Foundation.
Speakers said there was strong resistance from certain groups against gender equalisation in the country.
The event was presided over by National Commission on the Status of Women chairperson Anis Haroon.
Adviser to the Ministry of Women Development Yasmeen Rehman said Gender Reforms Action Plan (GRAP) was not being closed and it would continue after restructuring and reform process.
Ms Rehman said women’s representation in the local governments gave a new political cadre and it must continue.
GRAP National Project Director Rehana Hashmi said the action plan was one of the most ambitious national initiatives for gender mainstreaming.
“It took several years to kick off and when, two years back, it really started delivering, several lobbies came into action to close it down because they did not want a gender-responsive state,” she said.
On the occasion, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Director General (Operations) Mukhtar Ahmed said women were the prime beneficiary of the financial assistance programme, adding that in two years BISP had disbursed Rs47 billion among women through a transparent mechanism.
He answered various questions raised by the participants regarding eligibility criteria and disbursement of funds.
Naeem Mirza, acting chief operating officer of the Aurat Foundation, said it was the responsibility of the civil society to remain vigilant and make the government fully conscious of its commitments on women’s empowerment.Mr Mirza said Aurat Foundation would make it a regular feature to regularly review government’s gender commitments and their impact at national and provincial level.