Byline: M.M. Ashraf
The movement for rights of women and gender equality started by Evelyn Cunningham an activist of the Civil Rights Movement in USA during the twentieth century finally found expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 under the auspices of the UN. One of those fundamental rights stresses the need for gender equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex and also unequivocally rejects the notion of an individual subjecting the other individual to torture, cruelty, degrading treatment or punishment. Consequently it is universally recognized that the empowerment of women and gender equality are absolutely imperative for socio-economic development of a country, building stable, democratic societies, safeguarding human rights, furthering international peace and security, growing vibrant market economies, addressing pressing health and education challenges.
The degree of women empowerment and gender equality determines the difference between the developed and developing nations. Any nation aspiring to change its economic fortunes and building a harmonious society needs to adopt this inclusive approach. It is easier said than done, particularly in the developing countries with social inequalities, traditional prejudices against women, urban and rural divide and the lack of opportunities for women to become part of the national working force. Nevertheless, as they say where there is will there is a way. Successive governments in Pakistan have been exhibiting commitment to women empowerment and gender equality by taking administrative and legal measures to ensure that the women joining the work force were provided a dignified work environment where they enjoyed the respect and recognition of their male partners.
Due to these persistent efforts, Pakistan today can rightly boast of being a progressive entity where women are making their contribution in every field of national life. Women have 10% quota in the Central Superior Services. The importance that Pakistan attaches to women development and gender equality can be gauged from the fact that it declared 22 December as National Day of Working Women in 2010 purported to acknowledge and recognize their role in the nation building, sensitizing the society about their dignity and to encourage their participation in every field of work. To make sure that the women could concentrate on their work at their work places without any fear and harassment by their...