10 Pakistani icons remembered on International Women Day

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Updated 09 March 2020

10 Pakistani icons remembered on International Women Day

FAST FACTS

  • • Pakistan’s constitution promotes right to equality for both men and women
  • • Women make up 50 percent of the country’s population: United Nations Development Programme
  • • According to UN statistics, only 22.7 percent are part of Pakistan’s labor force
  • • Less than a fifth of the nation’s women have access to secondary education
  • • Pakistan ranks 151 out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to recognize women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is urging people to believe that “an equal world is an enabled world.”
Since its inception on March 8, 1911, the globally-celebrated event has sought to highlight several causes, with this year’s event focusing on promoting gender equality and inclusiveness at the workplace.
Here, Arab News Asia Bureau, which proudly employs a 48 percent female workforce, has compiled a list of 10 Pakistani women who have played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative for women’s achievements and equality in the country:

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FASTFACTS

• Pakistan’s constitution promotes right to equality for both men and women   • Women make up 50 percent of the country’s population: United Nations Development Programme   • According to UN statistics, only 22.7 percent are part of Pakistan’s labor force   • Less than a fifth of the nation’s women have access to secondary education   • Pakistan ranks 151 out of 153 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020


Daily wagers say government’s virus relief package won’t cover minimum needs

Updated 54 min 19 sec ago

Daily wagers say government’s virus relief package won’t cover minimum needs

  • Assistance to reach 3 million workers — less than a half of the affected, according workers’ association
  • The support package is part of the government’s Rs1.2 trillion scheme to minimize the impacts of the pandemic

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government on Monday approved Rs17,500 ($106) monthly cash assistance for around 3 million daily wage workers who lost their jobs amid cutbacks and shutdowns over the coronavirus crisis. The amount may be insufficient for them to survive.

“Something is better than nothing in this critical time, but this amount (17,500 rupees) isn’t enough even for a small family of five members to get by, ” Zahoor Awan, secretary general of the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), told Arab News.

“A small family needs at least 50,000 rupees per month to fulfill all its expenses including house rent, food and utilities,” he said.

The Rs200 billion financial support package is part of the government’s Rs1.2 trillion fiscal stimulus scheme to minimize the adverse impacts of the disease outbreak on the country’s fragile economy.

“It was estimated that around 3 million workers will fall in this category and they will have to be paid a minimum wage of Rs17,500 ($106) per month,” the government’s Economic Coordination Committee said in a statement on Monday.
The government will disburse the money to workers through provincial labor departments.

“This is a substantial and major commitment from the government at this difficult time,” Khurram Husain, business analyst and editor at Dawn daily, told Arab News, adding that the labor departments will have to generate “authentic data” on the workers for the funds to be fairly distributed.

However, the very data on which ECC based its relief may be unreflective of the reality. 

While the ECC estimates that 3 million daily wage workers have been affected by the shutdown of commercial activity across the country, according to PWF’s Awan the number is at least 7 million.

He said the government’s package covers only the formal industrial sector. “What about those thousands working in small hotels, shops, self-employed, and others who aren’t registered with labor departments?” he said, adding that it is necessary for the government to broaden its definition of daily wage earners.

Ghulam Mustafa, a daily wager at a textile mill in Chakwal, said that prior to the business shutdown his monthly income was Rs26,000.

“It’s impossible to meet all the expenses with Rs17,500,” he told Arab News. “The government should waive off our utility bills along with this allowance.”