National development should be balanced with equivalent distribution of resources to population both (males and females) in any country. Economists urge that the empowering women is vital to build stronger economies, attain globally planned targets for development and sustainability, and enhance the quality of life for women, men, families and communities. No doubt, the present Government of Pakistan is planned to meet SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the goal is to get gender equality; ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
The government is also a signatory of the UN Convention for Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It is said that the government has internalized SDGs as national goals. The seven pillars of Vision-2025 are completely aligned with the SDGs and offer a comprehensive long-term strategy for attaining inclusive and sustainable growth.
Economist mentioned that the present government has taken various initiatives to attain women’s empowerment by awareness campaigns and allocation of budget such as:
- Women’s employment is encouraged, and the Government of Pakistan has proclaimed a 10 percent quota for women in public sector employment; Punjab increased this to 15 percent and Sindh to 25 percent.
- Punjab has lifted the ban on recruitmentsand 25,000 posts for women have beencreated at dissimilar tiers, and 70 percent of jobs in primary education have beenearmarked for women.
- Moreover, Punjab Fair Representation of Women Act 2014 ensures 33 percent representation of women on all boards of statutory bodies, public sector companies,etc.
- Pakistan Army begun recruiting women officers. Pakistan Air Force also has women fighter pilots on duty alongside their male counterparts.
- Under the federal PSDP an amount of Rs20 million was assigned for implementation of project of human rights. Approximately Rs20 million was predicted to be used during the year for the establishment of a “Helpline for legaladvice on violations of human rights” by the Ministry of Human Rights.
- Action Plan to enhance the human rights situation in the country by the Ministry of Human Rights has been accepted and for establishment of the National Institute of Human Rights Rs58.70 million was assigned, out of this Rs10 million was expected to be utilized.
- The Government of Pakistan directed to ensure 50 percent participation of women in PM’s Youth Loan Schemes for the empowerment of women. In order to promote innovative ideas based on business plans leading to solution of social issues, the Government of Pakistan has organized a Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at a cost of Rs178.43 million.8. Vocational and technical training of one-month to a year’s duration, to the female beneficiary or her nominee is offered under the Waseela-e-Rozgar (Technical & Vocational Training) program (target is 150,000 beneficiaries) with a monthly stipend for each trainee is Rs6,000.
- The Waseela-e-Sehat programs subsidizes healthcare for beneficiaries and life insurance provided to one million women, the premium is paid by the program.
- Acknowledging ‘honor’ killings one of the most critical issues facing in Pakistan, the present government has enacted effective legislation to address women’s challenges with a view to safeguard their rights i.e. (Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences in the name or pretext of Honour) Act, 2016) and (Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences Relating to Rape), 2016).
CREDIT SCHEME FOR WOMEN
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) presently launched a refinance and credit guarantee scheme for women entrepreneurs in underserved areas. It is said that it is for the first time in history that a scheme with zero percent refinance rate and 60 percent risk coverage for small businesses run by women entrepreneurs has been rolled out. This scheme is an affirmative action by the SBP to encourage the flow of funds to small enterprises run by women in underserved areas. It earmarks at least 20 percent of funds for Balochistan. Under the scheme, women entrepreneurs can set up new businesses or expand existing ones in underserved areas. The SBP will provide the refinance facility to banks at zero percent, with the maximum financing amount of Rs1.5 million. The maximum financing period is 5-year with a grace period of up to 6-month.
No doubt, our government wants to increase the contribution of women in the every sector of economy but, there is dire need to upgrade the status of women in society and it is only possible through offering them protection legally and mentally. A woman should be given access and control over resources. An effective mechanism should be institutionalized to enable the women in decision making at all levels. Subject of gender studies should be introduced from secondary level in the course curriculum, provision of women friendly infrastructure and environment at workplace, research and documentation on the achievements of women and launching of awareness raising campaigns among citizens on gender and development.