PESHAWAR: The lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Awami National Party in the provincial assembly pledged here on Thursday to give priority to women rights in legislation.
They were addressing a function organised at Peshawar Press Club by Pakistan Education Champion Network and Blue Veins to share with people the findings of a research conducted on girls’ education and child and forced marriages in the province.
Provincial Minister for Labour, Culture, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and ANP lawmaker Shagufta Malik also addressed the function besides the members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women and Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Commission.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Child Protection and Welfare Commission and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women (KPCSW).
Research launched on girls’ education and child and forced marriages in KP
The minister said that the provincial government was committed to economic, political and social empowerment of women and girls. He said that government was enacting laws to increase minimum age for marriage to 18 years and improve enrollment of girl students in educational institutions.
Speaking on the occasion, MPA Shagufta Malik said that it was an agenda of development to improve girls’ education and stop child marriages. She said that WPC was committed beyond the party lines to prioritising girls and women empowerment and protection of their rights on the legislative agenda.
According to the organisers, the research was meant to identify barriers to girls’ education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to know how child and early marriages affected girls’ enrollment and retention in educational institutions, especially at the secondary level.
KPCSW chairperson Dr Riffat Sardar said that education had the potential to play a pivotal role in enabling countries to break out of the early marriage trap. “Overcoming the socio-economic barriers to increased access to education is critical to empower women and girls to lead, influence and inspire the world for sustainable development,” she added.
Mohammad Ijaz Khan, acting chief of Child Protection and Welfare Commission, said that investing in girls’ education could have tremendous impact on reducing child marriages that could lead to poverty alleviation.
“We are working to address the gender factors that stand in the way of girls’ education. We want to discourage early marriages through legislative reforms to make empowerment a reality for millions of girls in the province,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sana Ahmad, one of the organisers of the event, said that child marriage had long been a barrier to girls’ education. She added that early marriage put a stop to a girl’s education, as societal pressure did not allow her to attend school once she was married.
“We hope this research will provide valuable evidence-based data and recommendations and will serve as an important guiding document for all the stakeholders and policymakers to introduce reforms and address the cross-cutting issues related to girls’ education and child marriages,” said Ms Ahmad.
The speakers and participants of the event recognising the efforts of Blue Veins and importance of the research findings, called for multi-sectoral and strategic response to address the invisible underlying factors related to both girls’ education and the practice of child marriages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022
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