LAHORE - It is obligatory to empower women by providing safe and protected environment at workplace to attain maximum sustainable development goals, stated Ms Uzma Kardar chairperson of the Punjab Assembly’s standing committee on gender mainstreaming.  While addressing a consultative session on World Bank’s ‘Girls Learn Women Earn Initiative’, she said that government was keen to invest in projects related to women empowerment.  “It is impossible to achieve the economic goals without empowerment of half of the country’s population”, she observed.  Representatives from women development department, women chamber of conference, UN women, PITB, Ombudsperson Punjab, TEVTA, Nestle, Labour department and Lahore College for Women University also attended the session. The opportunities related to digital media, online businesses for women, small businesses under the banner of small industries were discussed in the session. Ms Kardar noted that harassment at workplaces was a very grave and significant issue which needed to be tackled on priority basis.

 She said laws were available to protect women but poor implementation and enforcement remained a big challenge for the government.

She said that Punjab government had established a special department called Ombudsperson Punjab for the safety of women at workplaces.

She stressed that daycare facilities should be an integral part of the organizations to support female colleagues working in the public sector.

Additional secretary women development department provided an overview of the organization and how WDD was ensuring integration of gender related SDGs targets into the overall institutional structure. While explaining WDD’s role to ensure gender mainstreaming, he emphasized that WDD was working on the expansion of daycare facilities and 150 daycare centers had been established till now in different Punjab districts.