“On an average, 5,000 women are murdered every year compared to 1,442 men. While the male casualties are primarily related to terrorism, the women’s killings are mostly linked to social issues of honour and harassment. Access to decent employment empowers women as it offers them financial independence,” Mr Bari added.
“I wanted to ensure that my daughters spend their lives without any problem so I taught them driving, made them independent and encouraged them to take decisions,” he said.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Andleeb Abbas said being a woman in Pakistan was an advantage.
“When I started a marketing job, no one took me seriously but after a year people started respecting me because of my performance. Here women can achieve more because people do not expect them of showing extraordinary performance,” she said.
“In USA not a single woman has become the president. Hillary Clinton did her best but failed. On the other hand, in our region we have a number of examples in which women excelled such as Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Khaleda Zia and Bandaranaike,” she said.
Rights activist Dilshad Begum said women even did not have basic rights.
“A dictator (Pervez Musharraf) gave 33pc representation to women in assemblies but did not motivate them to get their rights. Unfortunately, prominent Pakistani women such as a Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Malala Yousafzai and athlete Naseem Hameed are being criticised by a segment of society,” she said.
Counsellor Tayyaba Nasir said the day a woman was elected she became responsible for addressing the issues of other women. She said women can bring a change in society.
The workshop focused on consolidating recommendations for safer workplaces and steps to combating sexual harassment. An 11-point charter of demands was formulated for further action.
Major points of the charter of demands included 33pc quota for women in all assemblies through direct elections and allocation of 33pc party positions for women by all political parties.
The participants asked the government to implement all the pro-women laws. They pushed for the counting of every woman and girl in the upcoming census.
They proposed that 5pc of the income generated through export of goods to the European Union countries under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)-plus should be spent on women-specific projects.
They also said the federal and provincial governments should take measures to combat workplace harassment by launching participatory gender audits and installing CCTV cameras at workplaces.