‘Increasing access to land crucial for empowering Pakistan’s rural women’
ISLAMABAD: Women’s increased access to land through inheritance and purchase and elimination of discriminatory practices and customs that prevent rural women from acquiring land are crucial to empower rural women of Pakistan and bridge the gender gap.
Experts suggested implementation of Women’s Property Act 2019 to make sure rural women are not left behind.
They were speaking at an event jointly hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations, UN Women Pakistan and International Labour Organization (ILO) in connection with the International Women’s Day here.
Out of Pakistan’s 132 million rural population, 65 million are women. 62 percent women work in the fields while only 19 percent women are in paid employment and 60 percent work as unpaid workers on family farms and enterprises.
The unpaid work is valued at 2.6 percent of the national GDP. Only one percent women are entrepreneurs in Pakistan; 20 percent of rural women are classified as own account workers – 14 percent in agriculture and 6 percent in non-agri work.
Two panel discussions were organized where development sector actors, NGO representatives, and rural women discussed about the existing policies and frameworks to safeguards the rights of rural working women.
Country Representative FAO Mina Dowlatchahi while moderating the panel said, “Women are not paid equally to that of their male counterparts. Despite steady progress in representation, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. Pakistan ranks 152nd in Human Development Index.”
Younas Khalid, Senior Gender Adviser UN Women Pakistan, in his presentation said, “We cannot claim to be on the road to advancing gender equality if we do not promote rural women’s participation in decision-making and involve them in the design, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all relevant policies and strategies with focus on climate change.” – APP