Women Rights

Moot demands equal wages for women workers

Govt. urged to make anti-harassment laws part of labor laws

Home-based Women Workers’ Federation organizes consultative meeting on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.


Women workers should be given equal wages for same work, and the gender-based disparity in wages should be ended, said the speakers of a consultative meeting of women workers held at the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Thursday November 25.

The meeting was hosted by the Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) which also demanded end to harassment of women at workplaces. They demanded that at every workplace, anti-harassment committees should be established so that gender-based violence against women workers can be done away with.

This day is observed in the memory of the three great revolutionary sisters who are remembered in the history as Mirabal Sisters. These three real sisters emerged as the symbol of democratic independence, change and self-reliance. They continued to raise voice against the oppression of dictatorship till their last breath. As the result of their struggle and sacrifice, people of Dominican Republic got freedom from dictatorship.

In 1999 the general assembly of the United Nations announced to celebrate the day of November 25 as the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Women-Rights-Moot-Sindh-courier-1The speakers said that this day has lost its political importance and it is being observed just symbolically. Sadly, many people do not know about the importance of the day, and they not know that this is the day to remember the struggle for restoration of democratic values and human rights.

They said that though on this day speeches are made about the atrocities meted out to women, but the problems faced by the working women and gender-based discrimination against them are seldom discussed. They said that in Pakistan for a long time the number of women workers in informal sector is on the rise; however, due to Covid these women workers are also the mostly affected.

Sharing their experience, women workers said during work they face different types of violence and discrimination, which cast negative effect on their social and economic life. Even today there is disparity between the wages of male and female workers, as the wages of female workers are less than male workers. This difference is about 40 to 50 percent. A lot of women workers work under contract system where they are not registered under social security institutions. They do not get pension. The incidents of violence against women workers are not even reported. They said that discrimination and violence against women is the violation of law and constitution. They said the government of Pakistan in 2010 passed a Bill against harassment at workplace, and under this law the affected women could file their complaints with the provincial and federal ombudsmen, but due to prevailing social attitudes and injustice these cases are just lingered on.

The speakers said that even today the women workers face indecent treatment at their workplaces but there is no remedy available to them. No actions are taken at the governmental or factory level. The wages are female workers are lower than their male counterparts. Most of the female workers are compelled to work under contract system. The work is rapidly shifting to informal sector, in which female workers are deprived of their legal rights. The contractors give wages as per their sweet will. The workers are threatened of being sacked if they demand raise in wages. In many sectors, especially home-based and domestic workers despite working day and night could not manage two square meals for their families. They are not given the minimum wages and growing price hike has hit them hard.

They said that the food inflation is rising in Pakistan and almost 60 percent population lives beneath the poverty line. After every fifteen days fares of transport are raised due to which prices of all commodities are rising sharply.

The meeting observed that the rights of working women are in fact human rights and without understanding them gender equality could not be brought to society. The prevailing economic crisis and negative social attitudes are worsening conditions for working women, while the women working in informal sector are compelled to work on very low wages. To avoid this situation the only way is that the working women raise voice for their rights and struggle after properly organizing themselves and joining trade union in a large number.

Women-Rights-Moot-Sindh-courier-2The consultative meeting demanded ending all discriminatory laws against women; government of Pakistan should ratify the ILO Convention 190 and make proper laws in its light; the anti-harassment laws at workplace should be made a part of labor laws and women workers should be given proper protection; baby care centers should be established in factories and workplaces; women workers should be given paid leaves for pregnancy and law for home based workers should be implemented immediately. In media and curriculum anti-women content should be checked.

Those spoke include Zahra Khan of HBWWF, Saira Feroze of United HB Garment Workers Union, Nasir Mansoor of National Trade Union Federation, Dr Shershah of Pakistan Medical Association, Shaher Bano of Journalists Union, Nuzhat Sheerin of Sindh Commission for Status of Women, Mehnaz Rehman of Aurat Foundation, Karamat Ali of National Labour Council, Saeed Baloch of Pakistan Fisher Folkforum, political activist Akram KaimKhani, Seemi Sahir of Garment and Textile women workers, Saeeda Khatoon of Baldia fire affectees association, Nasir Parveen of Lady health workers and others. (PR)



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