Dutch Ambassador Inaugurates Women’s Action for Better Workplaces Project

ISLAMABAD, March 27, 2017: Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pakistan H.E. Jeannette Seppen on Monday inaugurated a unique Women’s Action for Better Workplaces Project that seeks to improve the working conditions of women in public and private sectors as well as advocate for gender sensitive labour laws in the country.

Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the one million Euros project will span over 24 months and will be implemented by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) in collaboration with the member organizations of the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) — Sangat Development Foundation, Centre for Peace and Development, Urban Rural Development Organization and Now Communities.

The project aims at enhancing capacities of women workers and their organisations to negotiate and advocate with employers, policy-makers and legislators for an improved legislative framework and effective implementation of existing laws.

While inaugurating the project, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Jeannette Seppen said that she fully understands the struggle for empowering women around the world and in Pakistan. She recalled women of the Netherlands were given the right to vote in 1922.

She said a lot has changed and much is changing for good. “Our history leads us to work together, as our problems are same…we believe in Pakistani men and women and we have seen progress in empowering women, but yet a lot still needs to be done,” she said.

Chairperson of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) Fauzia Viqar said lack of data on women workforce is a major impediment in devising appropriate policies. She said there is a need to know about the facts and figures of working women at the district level. She said the PCSW is planning to conduct a survey on the participation of women in economic activity as a prerequisite for targeted policies and actions.

Chief Executive Officer of TDEA-FAFEN Shahid Fiaz said women’s empowerment is a crucial issue. “We have to provide them enabling environment where they are willing to go out and work”.

Executive Director Sangat Development Foundation Zahid Islam, Executive Director Centre for Peace and Development Nasrullah Khan, Chief Executive NowCommunities Farhat Parveen and Program Manager Amir Iqbal of Urban Rural Development Organization also presented an overview of the issues that working women face at the provincial levels.

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