By Tahira Irfa
A wise person’s pen happens to jot down once that the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
Unfortunately what we observe in our daily life is in contrary to it rather what we come across at daily basis are the lethal incidents quoting “Acid throwing attacks at females, … killing in the name of honor …. Jirga decided the Vanni for Sister of the absconded culprit brother and many more. And cherry on the top of it is that such incidents not only received a very little attention of people around but of media as well who is supposed to spread the word. This is the situation of Islamic state, a religion who was pioneer of making women a respectable entity of society by providing them with their due status.
It is beyond any doubt that women play a significant role in the development of society history bears the testimony to the greatness of women as vibrant member of society. Even in general scenario women have stood shoulder to shoulder with men for the general cause of humanity however it is unfortunate that their efforts have not been given due recognition in the society. In the name of various customs, rituals and practices, women are being deprived of their legitimate rights and as a result end up in abysmal situation.
Role of Women in the progress of a country is inevitable especially in our country where they comprise more than half of the total population. So by confining this huge mass within four walls the dream of progress could not be attained. The need of hour is to give women workplaces and business environments that support and welcome them to improve society at large; a mass movement that Pakistan desperately needs to help push it out of Economic and social quagmire in which it finds itself today. Although status of women is not up to mark around the globe but the situation here is worst. However we are lucky enough to have some sensible lot in our ruling class who senses well the need of hour and does it best to make women empower.
It is worth recalling that enhancing the participation of women in mainstream development would mean providing greater opportunities and accessibility for them to make decisions, to manage their own resources and to be self-reliant. Therefore, considering the plight of women and to uplift the status of women in society, the government of Punjab has started many laudable initiatives who along-with Women Empowerment Package 2012 drafted various bills amongst whom Women Protection Bill 2016 is most notable. Notable features of Women Empowerment Package in this regard include property right which has made their position strong in family. Punjab assembly has approved Punjab Partition of Immovable Property Act 2012 under which husband and wife will cherish equal ownership rights.
Also to extol their participation in economic activity Punjab Government has passed The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act (2010) to provide them safe and peaceful environment where they can utilize their abilities in a productive manner without getting worried about surroundings. Interest free loan, maternity leaves and increasing of job quota to 15% are other notable features of this package which will hopefully bring best at their part. Women Protection Bill 2016 was an important step toward overcoming violence against women especially domestic violence.
In general, few people have misconception that women empowerment and gender is a foreign agenda but its only misconception women all over the world have been facing challenges and gender inequalities since the beginnings of history. They have tried to malign these bills as well and just for the sake of political point scoring pointed figures at this national interest bill by making it controversial. Nevertheless Punjab Government continued its struggle for improving prestige of women and encouraging them to play their part in the economic activity.
With all such remarkable initiatives of Government we need to play our part as well and be the change ourselves by drawing high acceptance level through awareness. it can be hoped that it will surely help women empower themselves, strengthen economy which will make society stable and the quality of life will be improved not only for women but for men, families and communities, the businesses’ operation and goals will be pushed forward to success.