Minister reaffirms commitment to ensure enabling environment for women

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LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Women Development Department Ashifa Riaz Fatyana Friday said that the women development department is emphasizing on implementation and service delivery to women across the province.

She was addressing the International Women’s Day ceremony which was organized by the Women Development Department Punjab.

The event was attended by Spokesperson to Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Gill, Chairperson Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Fauzia Viqar, Parliamentarians and representatives of the government departments along with the national and international NGOs, and media persons.

Fatyana, while talking about the importance of women as catalysts of change in the society, said that “no society can achieve its potential with half of its population disenfranchised, disadvantaged and disempowered”.

She briefed about the initiatives taken by the department, Women Hostel Authority. The authority will be mandated to issue the license to private women hostels, ensuring standardized facilities and a check and balance for safety and security of female residents.

“With this regulatory framework, we will make sure that no woman, who has a potential and desire to work, stops working because of lack of facilities, like accommodation and daycare centres. Punjab government will ensure that working women get a secure, affordable and decent living experience in public as well as in private hostels throughout Punjab,” she said.

Talking about the daycare centres, she said that we are going to build daycare centres along with working women hostels. Every women hostel will also have a daycare centre that women can work in peace without worrying about their kids leaving behind. The application procedure of the daycare center has also been eased to speed up the process.

“Now, all you have to do is visit WDD website, fill a very simple application form and send it to us,” she added.

Punjab government aims to double the number of daycare centers in Punjab in 2019. Provincial Minister further added that “obviously, there’s a long way to go before we truly reach that point where women are given conducive atmosphere and a level playing field but I’m optimistic that we are on the way to get there. For our department, WDD, women and girls are not just on the agenda, they themselves are the agenda. And that is what our theme of women’s day is, ‘Aurat Baaikhtiyar”.

Secretary for Women development Department said that the targets of the department have been realigned with Punjab Growth Strategy for achieving inclusive sustainable socio-economic empowerment of women in the Punjab.

Deputy Country Representative of UN Women in Punjab, Ayesha, also addressed the gathering and said that UN women is working in collaboration with government to create an environment to translate, monitor and report on the implementation of gender equality commitment.

The Minister and the audience highly lauded the spellbound performance of renowned artists, Erfan Khoosat, Sarmad Khoosat and Sania Saeed.  The performance highlighted the grave women issues like violence, honor killing, acid burning, and harassment.