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Federal Ombudsperson for Harassment at Workplaces Kashmala Tariq speaks at the convention on Tuesday. — Online
Federal Ombudsperson for Harassment at Workplaces Kashmala Tariq speaks at the convention on Tuesday. — Online

ISLAMABAD: More than 60pc of workplaces in the federal capital are violating labour laws, according to a survey conducted by the Working Women’s Alliance, the results of which were shared during a convention on Tuesday.

The alliance has monitored various workplaces in public, private and industrial sectors and has interviewed some 250 women.

The study has found that working women are the most affected by the non-compliance of labour laws.

The alliance is being facilitated by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability under its project called Women Action for Better Workplaces and is funded by the Dutch embassy.

30pc private firms, 40pc public organisations and all industrial units do not comply with workplace harassment law, study says

According to the study, 40 pc private organisations, 70pc public organisations and all industrial organisations do not comply with the workplace harassment act of 2010.

Approximately 30pc of private sector organisations violate the Maternity Benefits Act and women are not paid maternity benefits in any form. There are no washroom facilities in at least 20pc of public organisations and 10pc of private organisations, the study says.

There are no arrangements for day care centres in 85pc of workplaces.

The alliance has prepared a charter of demands which it will present to the relevant stakeholders which include the formation of sexual harassment committees in all workplaces, that if these committees exist they should be made functional, the effective implementation of maternity benefits act and for those violating the laws to be penalised. It calls for the provision of separate washrooms for women and day care centres.

In her keynote address, federal ombudsperson for harassment at workplaces, Kashmala Tariq said the office of the ombudsperson is open to the public and that her office addresses complaints within 60 days of filing.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said there is need for upholding socio-cultural and religious values which stress on respect for women.

“The empowerment of women is key for the development of any nation. These days, wars are not fought on the battle grounds but through economic indicators and therefore we must not exclude 52pc of our workforce from the economic war,” she said.

She said a conducive environment will help women perform better in workplaces and contribute more to the economic development of the country.

An entrepreneur from Rawalpindi who was attending the event told Dawn that she started a stitching centre on a very small scale as she did not have funds.

She says she found it difficult to start a business with her disability, as she does not have use of her legs, but she had to work in order to help her husband, who is a daily wage worker, with the household expenses.

“Days where I have to visit markets to buy material are the worst for me as I face so much harassment in public transport,” she said.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018