The United Nations released on Wednesday a report on gender equality for its Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 with Pakistan being one of the main four countries in focus. The report identifies inequality among women and girls and paints a sorry picture for the country.
Report describes that in Pakistan 12 percent of women(4.9 million to then population figures) aged 18-49 are simultaneously deprived in four Sustainable Development Goals-related dimensions: child marriage; education; healthcare; and employment. The report is based on a number of factors like health, education, economic and political indicators. The index helps in understanding of how equitably resources and opportunities are being provided. “These women were not only married before the age of 18 and education-poor, they also reported no agency in health-care decisions and said they were not working at the time of the survey,” the report adds.79.8 per cent of the women in this cluster live in rural areas and households concentrated in the bottom 40 per cent of the wealth distribution. The data highlights that women from marginalised ethnic groups living in poor rural households fare worse across a variety of well-being and empowerment.
The report found that around 79.8 per cent of the women lack access to clean cooking fuel while a quarter is deprived of sanitation services with seven per cent living more than 30 minutes from the closest water source. A unique disparity was found in employment with the richest more likely to lack employment as compared to the poorest – at 86.8 per cent and 53.3 per cent respectively. While poverty pushed the poorest women into precarious, 0ften informal and unpaid work, the rich face significant barriers including biased gender norms, discrimination in wages and limited job options.
Report terms Pakistan as an extremely hard country for women and girls; particularly those belonging to ethnic or religious minorities. This report once again has reflected the fact that women in Pakistan are deprived from most of their rights. In developed countries women are equally contributing in the economic, social and social progress. We as a society need to eliminate discriminatory practices in order to give more chances to women to contribute in the betterment of society. In order to end gender based discrimination state also needs to ensure implementation of laws those secure their rights. Pakistan’s continued poor performance regarding women rights s a cause of serious concern. Incumbent government needs speed up efforts in order to ensure that gender gap is bridged.