A Seminar, jointly organized by the Social Welfare, Special Education, and Women Empowerment Department of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (SW, SE & WED) and the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) funded Women Empowerment & Political Participation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (WEPP-KP) project, implemented by Cowater International, was held in Peshawar on December 6, 2019. Advisor to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Education, Mr. Ziaullah Bangash was the guest of honor on the occasion.
The main objectives of this event were to sensitize different segments of society on the various pro-women laws in the province creating awareness among society about pro-women legislation and issues related to their effective implementation. Several laws have been passed for the protection of the rights of women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; however, there are several challenges to their effective implementation.
Advisor to the Chief Minister KP for Education – Mr. Ziaullah Bangash, while speaking at the event, noted that government functionaries were intimately involved in all the activities being held in connection with the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which demonstrates their commitment to women’s empowerment.
Mr. Ziaullah Bangash lauded the role of the women parliamentarians in proposing and driving the implementation of pro-women laws, especially in the education and economic sectors. Regarding domestic violence, he added that it is a reality but due to the support of electronic and social media, and greater public awareness, these issues are now being brought to light and addressed expediently. He assured his full support for pro-women laws and thanked the SW, SE & WED, KPCSW, and Cowater International for working on this issue.
Ms. Syeda Nudrat, Gender Specialist of Social Welfare Department of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while highlighting the importance of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence suggested that activities during these 16 days played an important role in creating awareness among the people regarding the rights of women and prevention of GBV. They sensitized the legislators and government institutions and engaged men too. She thanked the Canadian Government and the WEPP-KP project delivered by Cowater International for their support and cooperation in organizing this event and hoped that the WEPP-KP project will be successful in supporting the department’s efforts to support women in the province and ensure the protection and promotion of their rights.
Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Ms. Ayesha Bano expressed that the most significant challenge to the implementation of pro-women laws is ignorance among women, men, girls, and boys. She suggested that raising awareness of such laws is a role that the media should play. MPA Ms. Zeenat Bibi highlighted that a priority issue for the Assembly will be the rights of home-based women workers. Dr. Riffat Sardar, Chairperson KPCSW expressed that most of the laws have been made in haste and this has made implementation challenges. Mr. Ghulam Ali, Director Human Rights Department, suggested that a mechanism for meaningful coordination among different bodies working for the protection of human rights should be a priority for all departments and stakeholders. In response, Ms. Aysha Bano conceded that there is a lack of coordination in different departments regarding the implementation of pro-women laws.
During the question and answer session, women among the audience suggested that these types of events be held in rural communities to ensure that all citizens of KP are aware of the laws protecting the rights of women and children.
To close, a video song specially produced by the SW, SE & WED about women’s rights and their effective role in society was played to the audience.