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Society for Human Development Pakistan

Women Empowerment Program

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Empowering women for equal citizenship rights

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Women Empowerment Program

 

Society for Human Development  carries out women empowerment program as its cross cutting theme. The activities started and being carried out with women is part of the SHD strategic vision “empower women for their equal citizenship rights”. Women initiatives are kept in accordance with CEDAW (Convention of Elimination of all kinds of Discrimination against Women) and focus the four sectoral areas

 

  1. Women’s Political and legal Empowerment
  2. Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment

 

SHD Women Empowerment Program is implemented at two levels

 

  1. Attitudinal change process at local level
  2. Constitutional reforms and legislation for equal citizenship for women

 

The strategy adopted for interventions includes

 

  • Capacity building of local women groups/councilors/political representatives
  • Exploring opportunities for economic and social upliftment and transferring information, knowledge and skills to women
  • Networking with national and regional level organizations for advocacy and lobbying at policy level
  • Influencing policy makers and parliamentarians through demonstrations, walks, seminars and rallies

 

Attitudinal Change process at local level:

 

Activities for economic and social empowerment:

 

Women being equal share holder in the economic activity for the family do not get recognition at any level merely because of their limited role in decision making and lack of training.

SHD designs programs for women to equip them in different skills so they can earn with that activity and can have control over the income which enhances the opportunity to become economically independent.

The skill training centers of SHD provide skills in marketing, production and sales of ready made garments, embroidered cloths, jam, jelly, marmalade, pickle making, juice making and honey making.

SHD has four skills training centres and 3,410 women have got training in different trades and are provided with initial investment to run their own business. Women groups of SHD are linked to local governments for credit facilities.

Despite the active involvement of women in the economic activity at every level, they have no role in the social structure of the society. They are the “followers” to the decisions of the men.

SHD has organized women into groups at village, tehsil (sub division) and district level for their increased role in the social activities and decision making. Total 2,114 women are organized in these groups and continue their activities collaborating with the civil society organizations at provincial and national level.

These groups focus on women’s role in peacebuilding, decision making at family level, involvement of women in recreational and sports activities.

 

Activities for legal and political empowerment:

 

SHD focuses on legal and political empowerment of women by enabling them to participate in the political process from the local level to the provincial and national level. Political education program of SHD covers not only the education on the political process but also enhances the skills of women to take part in the elections with the agenda of equal citizenship rights.

In the general elections 2002, SHD managed to teach the manifestoes of major political parties in the country to the leaders of local women groups in four districts so that they can reach out to the women in the villages and votes may be given to the parties having clear policy on women rights.

53 women got elected in the local governments having much information on women rights.

The women groups of SHD also get training on their legal rights in the society especially pertaining to the police. In the year 2004, 723 women were arrested for false charges of theft, adultery or quarrel etc in two districts of Jhang and Toba Tek Singh.

SHD Human Rights Desk along with training the women on their legal rights like law of inheritance, law of evidence, procedure of getting case registered with the police also provides legal assistance to women in the police and court.

 

Advocacy and lobbying at policy level:

 

SHD is part of national level networks like Action against Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (ASHA), Network against Honor Killing (NHK), Pakistan Peace Coalition, Pakistan Social Forum and have strong links with Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights (JAC) to struggle for the advocacy and lobbying for the legislation and constitutional reforms for equal citizenship rights.

 

SHD believes in the struggle with the strength of women at the local level to influence the policy makers. The SHD groups at the local level write, demonstrate and give alternative plans to the provincial and national governments for actions against the discriminatory laws against women and link their struggle with the groups working at the national level.   

SHD has prepared a report on highlighting the gender discrimination in the school syllabus and this report has been submitted to the text book board and federal education ministry.

Case studies of honor killing and false cases of Hadood Ordinance (rape cases) are regularly sent to the Women ministry and interior ministry in Islamabad.

 

SHD has prepared theatres on Hadood Ordinance, against honor killing, against domestic violence of women. The theatre group of SHD has performed the theatres all over the country and also in the World Social Forum 2004 in Mumbai, India.

 

 

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