Coalition for women’s rights launched
ISLAMABAD, July 15: The Pakistan gender coalition was launched under the USAID Gender Equity Programme for women’s rights and equality on Sunday.
The coalition aims to expand women’s access to justice and human rights, increase women’s knowledge of their rights and opportunities to exercise those rights, combat gender-based violence and to strengthen the capacity of Pakistani organisations advocating for gender equity.
US Ambassador Cameron Munter, his wife Dr Marilyn Wyatt, ministers for women development Sindh, Balochistan and AJK Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, Ghazala Gola and Farzana Yaqub were present at the launching ceremony.
Addressing the participants, Ambassador Munter said: “Through this coalition, you will create a new force for positive change in Pakistan. While advocacy for women’s rights and equal opportunities is a challenging task, please know you have the strong support of the US government and the American people.”
Simi Kamal, the chief of party, Gender Equity Programme, said “Within the second year of its existence, GEP has come a long way. By the end of the second year, it will be rolling out 160 grants.” She said the strategy to combat gender-based violence had acquired acceptability in the provinces.
The participants also reviewed the nationwide baseline study on gender equity issues conducted with US funding by the Applied Economics Research Centre of the University of Karachi, and a consultancy firm.
The study analysed the perceptions of Pakistani women and men about the prevalent household practices and the legal system.
According to the study, majority of Pakistanis strongly opposed men’s violence against women. It also showed that 15 per cent of women were beaten by their husbands and 1.5 per cent complained about being sexually abused.