The country cannot achieve the target of economic growth without due participation of women in the economic activities as they constitute more than half of Pakistan’s population.

“We should create a secure, harassment & abuse free environment for working women so that they can play their role for economic development of the country with a peace of mind.”

This was crux of the speeches delivered at a seminar on “Protection of Women against harassment”, jointly organised by LCCI and HomeNet Pakistan here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday. LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz was the Chief Guest while Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir, Provincial Ombudsperson Mira Phailbus, Senior Programme Officer of HomeNet Pakistan Javed Pasha, Executive Director of HomeNet Pakistan Ume Laila Azhar and Chairperson Provincial Commission on the Status of Women Fauzia Viqar spoke on the occasion.

In her address, Provincial Ombudsperson Mira Phailbus said that 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 said that in this endeavour an act of parliament to make provision for the protection against harassment of women at the workplace has been promulgated in March 2010.

She said that provisions made in the protection against harassment of women at the workplace act requires all public and private organisations to adopt an internal code of conduct and a complain and appeals mechanism aimed at establishing a safe working environment for working women. Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that only through legislation one cannot make the working environment safe and conducive for the womenfolk.

He said that society should change its attitude towards the working women.

He said that progressive societies are witness to instances where the womenfolk have excelled in almost every walk of life. He said that achievement has been partly due to certain attitudes which were shaped and molded in decades as to how women should be treated and respected.

LCCI president lamented that due to adverse circumstances, a large number of women, despite having education and God-gifted abilities, are reluctant to work or business that is a national loss.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz stressed the need of a civilised mindset to achieve the desired results. He said that every section of civil society has to take part in improving the situation.

He said that LCCI has been raising voice against harassment at workplace and in past, a number of seminars were organised to create awareness among the members.

LCCI President said that government should focus more on the development of women entrepreneurs in the country. He said that due attention is needed by offering focused opportunities to the women entrepreneurs in export of goods to international market.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir said the LCCI will leave no stone unturned for the betterment of women entrepreneurs. He said that women workers should acquire modern techniques for business promotion and come forward with new ideas. Skill enhancement of women and their economic independence is need of the hour.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that despite the fact that Pakistan has all resources in abundance and quality-wise its goods are ‘best of the best’ in the entire world but it has so far failed to get its share in the world economy only because of poor brand management in Pakistan.