MPA Dr Sumera Shams addresses a function held in Peshawar on Tuesday in connection with the International Women’s Day. — White Star
MPA Dr Sumera Shams addresses a function held in Peshawar on Tuesday in connection with the International Women’s Day. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a function here on Tuesday highlighted importance of women in leadership positions and said female members of population had been playing important roles in different sectors and thus, contributing to the country’s development.

The event was jointly organised by Ombudsperson Office Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace, provincial social welfare department and UNDP with the theme ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a post-Covid-19 world’ for marking the International Women’s Day.

It was meant to celebrate the achievements of women in the province with a focus on women from the merged tribal districts, especially those in non-traditional sectors of the economy.

The event highlighted the country’s commitments regarding the women’s rights and obligations regarding women from minority communities and those with disabilities and disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Women’s role in national uplift highlighted

Social welfare minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan was the chief guest on the occasion, while the participants included MPAs Dr Sumera Shams and Baseerat Begum, ombudsperson for protection against harassment at workplace Rukhshanda Naz, UNDP-supported gender desk officers, and representatives of the women chamber of commerce, civil society, media and UNDP.

Dr Hisham said women, being half of the country’s population, had an important role to play in society, so the government was committed to their economic, political and social empowerment, especially those living in merged tribal districts.

“We are striving to provide equal opportunities for women with disabilities, women from minority communities and women affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The minister promised the early passage of the Child Marriage Restraint Bill by the assembly and said he would formally seek job quota for women.

Ms Rukhshanda Naz highlighted the history of the women’s struggle for equality and empowerment. She called for legislation for the protection of the domestic women workers.

Chairperson of the Provincial Commission on Status of Women Riffat Sardar appreciated the role of the women in tribal districts in their day-to-day life.

Dr Sumera Shams, who is also the chairperson of the women’s parliamentary caucus in KP, shed light on the women’s role in different fields and appreciated their hard work.

Ms Baseerat, who belongs to Khyber tribal district, said she felt proud to represent tribal women in the event and that it was an achievement of the women’s struggle that she was in a leadership role.

Gender desk officer from Orakzai district Shakeela shared her experience of working for the vulnerable groups in her area.

UNDP project officer in Peshawar Ejaz Mustafa hailed the ombudsperson’s office for addressing the complaints of harassment in public offices and said the UNDP would continue working with it for the implementation of the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010.

Social welfare secretary Manzoor Ahmad appreciated the women’s role in national development.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2021

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