By Sheharyar Khan
Lahore (Tuesday, November 26, 2019) In order to celebrate International 16 Days of Activism for ending violence against women, Department of Gender & Development Studies, Women Institute for Leadership and Learning (WILL), LCWU in collaboration with Bedari Organization organized a provincial conference and parliamentary dialogue addressing violence against girls in Punjab.
Dr. Talat Sohail, Director WILL chaired the first session. The conference consisted of three sessions. Addressing the Opening Session, Ms. Kaneez Fatima Chairperson-Punjab Women Protection Authority (PWPA) said that ”In Punjab, women’s rights are protected by the constitution, and other legislative measures taken by the Provincial Assembly of Punjab.”
This activity aims to raise awareness on girls’ rights among society and to reduce violence like child marriage, child sexual abuse, and societal violence against girls. On the occasion, Mr. Adeel Qaiser Director Program Oxfam said that, “Women and girls deserve to live in communities free from violence. Violence against women is a shared global issue with one in every three women beaten, violated or abused during their lifetime. A documentary titled “Ehsas ki Ruksati” was displayed. There were three sessions in the Conference.
Dr. Subah Malik, (HOD Gender and Development Studies Department, LCWU) and Ms. Anbreen Ajaib, representative Bedari Organization threw light on sensitive issues related to Girls Rights such as, situation of violence against girls in Pakistan, situation of child sexual abuse and its remedies.
Second session on situation of child marriages was chaired by Sadia Sohail (MPA-Punjab Assembly). She stated that the Government introduced and implemented several significant measures to counter gender-based discrimination, violence against women, economic and social empowerment of women. Positive steps have also been taken to encourage and promote women’s participation in the political process and the workforce,
Guests Speakers Ms.Anbreen Ajaib Executive Director,Bedari, Ms. Bushra Khaliq Executive Director, WISE Organization and Nabeela Shaheen Coordinator Mumkin Alliance discussed child marriage issues in Pakistan and social & health impacts of child marriages on girls.
Third session on girls’ education as a tool to address child marriages discussed about girls education, barriers and opportunities available in girls’ education and role of govt. and civil society in promoting girls education.
At the end of program Dr. Subha Malik HOD, Gender and Development Studies, LCWU and Anbreen Ajaib Executive Director,Bedari Organization presented the resolution on the protection of Girls Rights and shields to the duty bearers and extend their vote of thanks to honorable guests speakers and participants of conference.
A day earlier, A seminar was held on the subject” Female Politicians and Policy Making Regarding Women Empowerment in Lahore College for Women University. The purpose of the seminar was to highlight issues and progress regarding legislation on women protection and empowerment.
Miss Uzma Kradar Member provincial assembly Punjab & Chairperson Punjab Gender Mainstreaming Committee assured her full commitment to an inclusive political system where women can claim maximum space. She, on behalf of PTI, committed to engage women from all spheres of society in her party. Later on Sadia Sohail raised the concern over low participation of women in political system and urged election commission to come up with more extensive reforms regarding women participation. Seema Anwar Secretary PTI Women Wing Punjab highlighted her party’s efforts to engage women in all political and governmental positions. Fsahat Ul Hasan Chief Executive Youth Advocacy Network stressed over the need of engaging global community and think tanks in the formation of women related laws. Ayesha Iqbal MPA agreed to raise such issues in parliament and will encourage and support the cause. Mr Irfan Mufti Deputy Director South Asia Partnership Pakistan SAP-PK social activist encouraged the government and political parties to focus on rural women and their inclusion in mainstream political system. We cannot move forward by ignoring a huge segment of our community that resides in villages, he argued. Dr.Talat, Director of Social Sciences, ended the session with a vote of thanks.