Since last two decades, the women’s involvement has gained world attention. The reason behind is the renouncement of view by man of assigning women only the domestic role. Due to enlightenment ushered in by movements like Renaissance, Reformation and glorious Industrial Revolution of eighteen century, the women in society have assumed multi-faceted role. They are not restricted to domestic chores only; their presence in every walk of life is a self-evident fact. Though we are living in digital age characterized by instant access to information, and political consciousness, even then the voices against women involvement in politics can be heard especially in Third World Countries. There are stereotypical views and prejudice against women particularly in respect to the metrocracy or government of the women. The reasons for the same are many. Out of these, religious norms, cultural traditions and state constitution deserve special importance. Poverty, illiteracy, gender difference, discriminatory laws against women, low female education rate and poor health conditions are the problems the Third World countries have to deal with. How to remove these barriers enabling smooth and easy participation of women in politics is a major challenge for the governments and the civil society’s organizations of the third world countries.
How We Contribute?
Press for Peace (PFP) is active on women's rights issues in the region aim to bring about change in following areas:
Education for all with special focus on females.
Elimination of gender discrimination particularly in workplaces
To reform the legal structure in respect to eliminate discriminatory laws against women.
To make certain the participation of women in decision-making process both at national and local levels.
To provide basic health facilities and to make women conscious of reproductive health phenomenon.We believe that;
To speed up the economic development, it is imperative to concentrate upon women and ensure for the protection of their rights.
No country of the world can make progress, unless half of its population is granted with full rights. The government has taken historical steps to empower women in our region. The pursuit of Millennium Development Goals will remain a cherished goal without giving due importance to the development of women in the country.
Though many steps has been taken like Education for all program, Tawana Pakistan Scheme, President Developmental Fund for development of rural women, provision of loans under Khushhaali Bank, establishment of the National Commission on the Status of Women, and training of one lac lady health workers for protecting the rights of women in the country. These steps were directed to empower women in various socio-economic and political circles of the society.
Major Focus Areas
Unfortunately, gender disparities in most of South Asian countries are severe and pervasive. Deeply rooted cultural and institutional constraints prevent women from playing a fulfilling role in the development of their society. Their presence in the public sphere is condemned and criticized under the guise of cultural and religious values, thus, making their contribution outside the home difficult, if not impossible. Institutionalized violence against women in Pakistan allows crimes of 'passion' and 'honor' to go unpunished and has become, in the past two decades, one of the biggest constraints to widening their role in the public domain.
Dream of political empowerment of women can be realized by focusing on broader perspective of the term ‘Empowerment’. Empowerment of women means social empowerment, economic empowerment and political empowerment. Political empowerment will remain unrealized without focusing on socio-economic empowerment of women. As women's relationships with men in society are significant determinants of their status. Empowerment of women is a two-fold process. First, the process of increasing awareness of her potential, capacities and rights, which includes an understanding of her own social conditioning. Second, working towards an environment of democratic principles that allows her to participate actively and equitably in all spheres of life.Vision:
Press for Peace (PFP) envision such strategy which focuses upon achieving the following outcomes: National capacities including the capacity of government officials, private sector and civil society developed to address gender issues in the context of indigenous clulture. For example, an increased number of trained media professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders. Government officials, politicians and community leaders gender-sensitized to increase efforts in Incorporating women into mainstream, high-level decision-making fora. Policy makers, donors and other decision makers made aware of the strategic gender interventions for effective change in Pakistani society. This includes focus on strategic needs of women such as mobility and control over resources, as well as focusing on men's issues.
Affirmative policy and institutional support for women to access credit, to participate in mainstream politics and to be portrayed in media positively in place.
Institutions such as village organizations, NGOS, women's cooperatives, and credit institutions strengthened to develop partnerships with each other and increase access to micro-credit.
Recent developments: To achieve the purposes, the previous governments in Pakistan especially the quasi-civil Government under Perveiz Musharraf regime, following steps has been taken for political empowerment of women in the society: Politically the women has been empowered by giving maximum representation in national assembly, senate and in local bodies as well. At local bodies, women have 33 % representation, and in national and provincial legislatures, they have 20 % representation. Out of 1170 members of assemblies, 233 are women. Apart from this women form two federal ministers, five ministers for state, six provincial ministers, ten parliamentary secretaries, and twelve are Chairpersons for Standing Committees. In addition to this, the government has reserved 5 % quota in government service for women. All these steps have been taken to materialize those ideals enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, which recognizes the role of woman equality and participation in all walks of life in its Article-25. In past the resolution has been passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan that considers violation of women rights or attack on women in any walk of life on the part of any one or any one who resists in the protection and promotion of women rights to be the act of terrorism. This unanimous adoption of resolution is clear indication that extremist elements have no place in Pakistan. It has bowed down the pressure of religious extremists and supported the attempts of the government for enlightened moderation. This step will also prove helpful in fostering positive image of Pakistan in the world and it would wash away the impression that extremist elements dominate the politics.
First time in the history of Pakistan, voice has been raised against the set of discriminatory laws against women and decided to amend them for protecting the women rights in the country. They include Hadood Ordinance, and Honor killings Laws. Result is that these laws have been amended but a lot of has yet to be done to make them in conform with human rights conventions.
In spite of this a lot of work is to be done for the welfare and betterment of women in the country. Because, in real sense of the word, women can be made empowered and enlightened through social change only. This is the challenging job before the government and civil society organisations as well. Press for Peace (PFP) believes empowerment of women in tripartite sense i.e. political, economic and social, and have unflinching belief that only the women can have sound and robust in term of their active role when they are strong within these three perspectives.