ISLAMABAD - Women artisans from different parts of the country displayed their handmade art and craft products at women artisans’ at-work festival here Tuesday at the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) in connection with National Women Day celebrations.

Besides display of arts and crafts, the day-long colourful cultural activities included performances by female students from different provinces carrying reflection of cultural heritage and traditional attires from different parts of the country and multi-media presentations on women issues.

The event was arranged by Lok Virsa, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan in collaboration with Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment (FOSPAH) and Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA).

Speaking on the occasion, Kashmala Tariq, Federal Ombudsperson said the National Women’s Day is the celebration of the struggle of women that was started in 1983 when women rights activists took stand and raised voice for their rights. Quoting examples of Hazrat Khadija (R.A) and other women in the history of Islam, she said it is the time that we should not only train our women to stand for their rights but we must teach our men to ensure the protection and rights of women around them.

She highlighted the aims, penalties and objectives of FOSPAH and encouraged the young participants of the event to create awareness among others to understand the rights of women. “There is a need for capacity building of women through confidence and harassment at workplace law is for the confidence of women by giving them dignity and respect,” she commented.

She asked women to maintain their legacy and help other women for building confidence and come over their insecurities from other women. They should bring positivity in them and get rid of negativity as part of their general training and tell others especially men to respect women.

Through live performances, women singers and speakers paid tribute to Human Rights Activist, late Asma Jehangir, legendary singer Reshma and other women for their lifetime services in diverse fields. While, elderly women from KP presented the folk tales to revive the culture of storytelling.

Lok Virsa has always been in the front row for any initiative that leads to the empowerment of women with special focus on the cultural heritage of Pakistan. National Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize women’s achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments and looking ahead to the potential and opportunities that await future generations of women, said the organizers.

Craftsperson from Hunza Ambreen displayed her handmade precious and semi precious stones jewelry and caps. “These events are an opportunity to support women and ensure our participation at platforms of national level,” she said.

Expert in embroidery from Peshawar, Farkhanda Jabeen said this event will encourage women to reclaim the progressive spaces provided within the culture and use this day as a step forward into this process.

Nuisance free working environment for women is our mission

Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplaces (FOSPAH) Kashmala Tariq said that nuisance free working environment for women is our mission to empower entrepreneur females for a propitious and stable future. 

She expressed these views on the occasion of ‘National Women Day’ held at National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) on Tuesday. She said the basic purpose to celebrate this day was to highlight significance of Women’s empowerment and their long standing struggle in all fields of life.

She said, “Our vision is to proactively stem out all forms of discrimination and provide them suitable environment on the work places adding she said there is a need for concerted efforts from the cross-section of the society to eliminate it once and for all.

She said that almost 80 to 90 percent workplace harassment cases were not being reported by women in our country just to keep the honor of families intact.

She said that they are taking further steps to reaching out to academic institutions so that school, colleges and universities may introduce subjects like women empowerment in their curricula and activities.

She advised that women are being harassed at work places they must share with their other colleagues to make it public. She further stated that education for women is very vital so that they can stand with men equally and can contribute to the country’s development.

She recommended women to maintain their legacy and help other women for building confidence and overcome their insecurities from other women.  They should bring positivity in them and get rid of negativity as part of their general training and tell their fellow men how to respect women and need to train our men as well ”, she said. 

She said women should be aware of their rights, they should not tolerate the injustices done to them.

She added that under FOSPAH, they train volunteers and media internships and then they train the trainers.

She said that all the institutions should have harassment committee, if not then report to FOSPAH.

“The government is committed to create a safe working environment for women, which is free of harassment, abuse and intimidation with a view toward fulfillment of their right to work with dignity”, she maintained.