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LAHORE: Pakistan has been at the bottom of the international gender parity index and statistics show how this is happening.

Fauzia Viqar, chairperson of the Punjab Commission for Status of Women, said at a provincial consultation on gender based violence on Tuesday.

The consultation was organised by Baidarie to formulate and present stakeholders with workable strategies and action steps for putting an end to violence against women.

Ms Viqar said that women in the country were grimly under-represented. “Where we used to have more women than men, today the census has a reverse ratio of more men than women. We blame India for infanticide, but it’s an alarming situation – how has the number of our women gone down so drastically?” she said.

She added that there was a difference of 12 per cent between the registration of male births and female births. Even the CNICs had a huge gap as 56 per cent of men and 44 per cent of the women have cards. As voters, millions of women were being disempowered.

“Women are not just marginalised because of their gender, but the more layers you add, the worse it gets, such as women who have a disability, who belong from religious and/or ethnic minorities, who are poor, and whose marital status is anything other than married,” she said.

Likewise 94 per cent of the parliamentary standing committees were headed by men. In gazette office jobs, 70 per cent of the jobs were for men. The same situation is in police, district judiciary, and the Supreme Court.

Even ownership of assets like cars saw only one per cent registered in a woman’s name.

“Of course these dire statistics will end up having budgetary repercussions as well,” she said. She added that it was integral for stats to be collected and analysed.

“The PCSW is currently analyzing more than 300 gender parity indicators,” she said. “At the same time we are also analyzing our complaint calls which currently tell us that too many young women – even girls – are being harassed on the streets. These can get as serious as someone attempting to drag them into their car.”

The stakeholders recommended awareness of the issues, changing social behaviour, capacity building of law enforcement agencies about gender-based violence and harassment at work place.

They also recommended the formation of a provincial commission of child rights to safeguard the rights of young girls.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018