By Syeda Wafa Bukhari
Pakistan has long been facing challenges in upholding human rights, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the rights of women as per international norms. The changing landscape of globalization has allowed more women to join the workforce, but this progress has been coupled with the prevalence of human rights violations.
Shocking statistics reveal that 4,734 women have been sexually assaulted and over 15,000 instances of honor-based crimes have occurred. The statistics pertaining to sexual harassment in Pakistan are distressing. For instance, in 2018 Lahore saw 54 reported cases of rape, but by February 2020, this number had increased to 73, which included five incidents of gang-rape.
In Punjab alone, as many as 3,881 incidents of rape were reported in 2019, but the conviction rate for such cases across the country was a mere 0.3%. Pakistan is grappling with a significant form of violence against women, which is the prevalence of sexual harassment in workplaces.
A study conducted on workplace harassment of women reveals that approximately 93 percent of women employed in both public and private sectors have likely experienced sexual harassment.
The rise in the rate of sexual harassment complaints filed in the workplace, which increased from 432 in 2019 to 535 in 2020, is likely due to the lack of job security and regulatory measures. This issue is more prevalent in private sector organizations, which seem to be implicated in a higher number of cases. This observation can be attributed to a lack of regulatory oversight, allowing for perpetuation of such inappropriate behavior. The statistics are sourced from the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection Against Harassment (FOSPAH).
The writer is a student of BS Journalism studies at Punjab University and can be reached at:[email protected]