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
- Women’s Political and legal Empowerment
- Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment
SHD Women Empowerment Program is implemented at two levels
- Attitudinal change process at local level
- Constitutional reforms and legislation for equal citizenship
The strategy adopted for interventions includes
- Capacity building of local women groups/councilors/political
- 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
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
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,