KARACHI: In the Human Development Index, Pakistan is at the 153rd place, which is lowest in entire South Asia, while 60 per cent population of Pakistan is living beneath the poverty line.
This was stated at a seminar entitled “Role of Women in National Economy” organized by Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) in Gadap Town of Karachi to mark the 16-day international movement to end violence and harassment of women.
Addressing the seminar, HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan said every year human rights activists observe 16 days from November 25 to December 10 to demand end of violence against women. This movement was started in 1981 in the memory of three revolutionary sisters, Patria, Minerva, María Teresa, and Dedé, who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (El Jefe) in the Dominican Republic and were involved in clandestine activities against his regime.
Later, these three sisters were murdered on November 25, 1960 at the behest of the dictator. She said these women are now known in the world as the Mirabal sisters and their assassinations had turned them into “symbols of both popular and feminist resistance”.
In 1999, in the sisters’ honor, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Zehra said today women in the whole world are fighting gender, class and social injustice. In Pakistan, women, especially home-based women workers, are writing a new history of a brave struggle. They for the first time in history of Pakistan established a federation of home-based women workers and played a crucial role in getting recognition for more than five million home-based workers in Sindh.
United Home-based Garment Workers Union general secretary Saira Feroze said that women in Pakistan had been playing an important role in the development of the national economy, but sadly they were deprived of their due rights. She said that they do not get proper wages equal to the wages of male workers. She said raising prices of edibles had become a trend of the sitting government.
National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor said women were facing a dual oppression. The feudal system has made them virtual slave and the capitalist society is exploiting them as a source of cheap labor, he said.