Oxfam Hosts Policy Dialogue on Women’s Mobility and Economic Empowerment

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ISLAMABAD, December 6(APP): As part of Oxfam’s international 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence, a policy dialogue ‘Free from Fear: Women’s Mobility and Economic Empowerment’ was held at the Serena hotel. The campaign raises awareness about gender-based violence on local, national, and international levels between November 25th, the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women – December 10th, Human Rights day.  This year’s theme proposes the idea of a world where women can participate in social, political, economic and public spheres free from fear of harassment and violence.

Speaking on violence against women and girls in public spaces, Balochistan Awami Party Senator Sana Jamali said, “My father and I are a force against the injustices women face in our province and we are making efforts to ensure women are empowered.”

The event hosted many notable women and religious leaders including Secretary to the Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Hafiz Iqram-ul-Haq, MNA Romina Khurshid Alam, Senator Sana Jamali, Chairperson, Gender Studies, University of the Punjab Dr. Ra’ana Malik, and Chairperson, BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar. The various speakers discussed the roles of religion, youth and violence against women and girls, and shared opportunities, challenges and recommendations for ensuring Pakistani women’s safe mobility and economic empowerment.

Speaking about the global campaign, Oxfam in Pakistan’s Country Director Mohammed Qazilbash said, “Oxfam wants to focus on profiles of influential women who are working in their communities to raise awareness of the different forms of gender violence related to access of resources and opportunities.

BISP Chairperson Dr. Sania Nishtar appreciated the organizers for selecting this theme also including academics in the panel. She said “The theme of women’s mobility is cross-cutting and critical. Women’s mobility is essential to their access to health and education and their participation in the workforce.

Oxfam in Pakistan Programme Quality and Funding Director Uzma Aftab said, “Our ‘Free from Fear’ theme underscores the need to recognize that fear is not a normal state of existence and that women and girls deserve access and enjoyment of their human rights without fear and with a system that holds perpetrators accountable,”

Secretary to the Council of Islamic Ideology Ikram-ul-Haq said “At the time of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), women were empowered, they were involved in business and farming, and ran cottage industries and the Prophet (P.B.U.H) encouraged this.”

APP/Naheed/Shahzaib