LAHORE, March 8 The International Women's Day was observed here on Monday by different organisations by holding rallies and meetings.

Hundreds of women participated in a rally organised by the Women Workers Helpline on The Mall from Nasser Bagh to Faisal Square.

Addressing the rally, WWH chairperson Azra Shad said women workers in Pakistan were denied their legal rights and were compelled to work for longer hours for meager wages.

WWH Secretary-General Bushra Khaliq said it was the duty of the state to ensure payment of equal wages to women. They should also be given equal share in inheritance. She also stressed the need for end to domestic violence against women and fixing of minimum wage at Rs15,000 per month.

SAP Women were briefed on the salient features of the recently promulgated law against harassment at workplace at a meeting organised by the South Asia Partnership.

Women from Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Bahawalpur, Mianwali, Lodhran and Rajanpur attended the meeting.

Speaking at a meeting arranged by the Pakistan Workers Federation at the Bakhtiar Labour Hall, International Labour Organisation Country Director Donglin Li said women in Pakistan had a lower employment rate, weaker control over property and resources and concentration in informal and vulnerable forms of employment with lower earnings

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Secretary-General IA Rehman said the women were still being subjected to exploitation in the form of bonded labour. Domestic women workers were denied respect.

SPO Need for participation of women in national affairs was stressed at a conference on 'Women, Democracy and Economy' organised by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation.

Speaking on the role of women in democracy, Dr Neelam Husain said the system prevalent in the country was not democratic. There was no democracy in homes and society either.

Husain Naqi said the military rule had harmed the struggle of women for rights. Hudood Ordinances promulgated by Gen Zia were still there despite being discriminatory and controversial.

Tanvir Jehan said women were being suppressed and victimised in the name of religion and gender due to the state structure based on maintaining stranglehold on power through violence. A minister had even supported burial of women alive in the name of culture and tradition.

Dr Saman Yazdani said the incidence of violence against women had increased by 13 per cent during the past one year.

Farah Zia said the late Ajmal Khattak had declined to support Iqbal Haider's resolution against murder of Samia Sarwar at the behest of her father in the assembly describing it as tradition.

Historian Dr Mubarik Ali said women were not given any importance in tribal and feudal culture. Men resorted to violence on the pretext of protection of traditions when women challenged their right to decide their fate.



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