Harassment-free workplace environment vital to women empowerment: president

Harassment-free workplace environment vital to women empowerment: president


Harassment-free workplace environment vital to women empowerment: president

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ISLAMABAD (APP) – President Dr Arif Alvi, while emphasising the significant contribution of financially-empowered women to socio-economic development, stated on Tuesday that women's emancipation necessitates a harassment-free environment in workplaces.

“The state and society need to provide every woman with a safe and secure space in both public and domestic domains, where they can thrive with equal opportunities,” the president said in his address during an event organised by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection Against Harassment (FOSPAH).

President Alvi said that it was the responsibility of both the state and society to bring about a change in the attitudes that promote gender-based harassment.

He highlighted that the empowerment of women encompassed various facets, including the right to ample representation in financial, political and leadership spheres.

The president remarked that denying property and inheritance rights to women went against the injunctions of Islam and the country’s laws, stressing the need to report such instances to legal forums, such as FOSPAH.

He pointed out that Islam advocated equal rights for women over 1,400 years ago and supported their participation in all fields of life.

Quoting the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the president said, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”

Alvi condemned ‘honour killings’ of women as criminal acts that require a change in behavior against several social taboos.

He underscored the role of media in promoting awareness about gender-based harassment through talk shows, television dramas and cultural programmes.

The president proposed that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) could collaborate to relay short messaging services to cellular phone consumers, making them aware of gender-based harassment.

Addressing the event, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Saleem Ullah said women could prove themselves as a productive workforce in achieving the goals of a stable economy.

He said that over the past three years, the SBP provided training to women on digital finance at their doorsteps and was striving to open accounts for 9.3 million women in collaboration with the Benazir Income Support Programme.

The FOSPAH chairperson said the organisation was redressing grievances related to harassment at the workplace and women’s property rights within 90 days, without any fees.

She said that since its establishment, FOSPAH had dealt with 8,000 cases of women's harassment and property matters, providing speedy justice to the aggrieved persons.

A documentary was screened on the occasion, depicting the problems faced by women at workplaces and showcasing FOSPAH’s activities as a platform for their redress.