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The Status of Women in Pakistan: a discussion with Fauzia Viqar

The Global Women's Institute
Event organized by The Global Women's Institute

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Fauzia Viqar has established, and is heading (since 2014), the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (http://pcsw.punjab.gov.pk), a government body responsible for promoting women’s empowerment.

Key achievements of the Commission include legislation and policy changes to curb child marriage and honour crimes; providing increased rights in marriage; eliminatimg domestic violence; establishing the Punjab women’s helpline of the PCSW that provides information and redressal; creating the Punjab Gender Management Information System (gmis.gop.pk), a unique gender disaggregated database for monitoring the status of women, published in annual Gender Parity Reports (http://pcsw.punjab.gov.pk/system/files/PGPR-2017%20Final_Compressed.pdf) and the Women in Leadership program (http://pcsw-punjab.pk/index.php?r=site/wil) that promotes women’s participation in decision making in Public Sector Boards in a systematic way. Recently, the Commission undertook a large capacity building initiative for over 40,000 public officials to ensure compliance with marriage laws. This program has reached out to all the marriage registrars in Punjab for the first time.

The Commission is currently conducting a first ever district level household survey (and 3 sub population surveys) representative of women aged 15-64 from 33,000 households across the province. Its purpose is to better understand women's economic and social empowerment status, through indicators such as employment and control over assets. This Program also establishes a model business incubator, specifically designed to support women-owned businesses; and a women’s Employment Facilitation Hub to enable women to identify, pursue and gain suitable employment.

Fauzia is a women’s rights activist with over 17 years of experience working against gender- and race-based discrimination in government and in non-government organizations. She serves on various boards including the Punjab Safe Cities Authority, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the Punjab Education Foundation, Violence Against Women Centres Authority, Punjab Local Government Commission and the Social Policy and Development Centre. She has been at the helm of landmark changes in Pakistan that have changed the landscape for women’s equality in recent years.

Fauzia is visiting USA from March 12-30, 2018 to explore partnership opportunities with institutions relevant to women’s empowerment. During visits, she will share information on the status of women in Pakistan and Punjab, outlining a series of recent interventions to improve women's empowerment. She will introduce the Commission’s contributions in making gender-disaggregated data available to policymakers through tools such as the Gender Management Information System (http://pcsw.punjab.gov.pk/gmis) and the Women's Economic and Social Wellbeing Survey project.

This is event is being co-hosted by The Global Women's Institute (GWI) and by Dr. Sumera Haque, a member of GWI's Affiliated Faculty and the Director of Clinical Operations, GW Medical Faculty Associates