Islamabad:July 16:A national baseline study launched by Gender Equity Programme (GEP) on ‘Gender Differences: Understanding Perceptions’ shows a huge gap between perception and practice as a big majority of respondents believed in women rights, but only a small percentage practically implement them in their homes.
The study findings were shared at the launching ceremony of Pakistan Gender Coalition under the USAID Gender Equity Programme, which is administered by the Aurat Foundation. The Pakistan Gender Coalition is envisaged as a network of Pakistani civil society organisations, academic and research institutions, as well as media organisations working together to promote gender equity throughout the country.
The study analysed the perceptions of Pakistani women and men about the prevalent household practices and on the legal system. According to the study, majority of Pakistanis strongly oppose men’s violence against women. It also showed that 15 per cent of women interviewed were beaten by their husbands whereas 18 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women believe that men have the right to hit women.
It says that very few women are aware of the recent laws, which have been passed by the Parliament, but women thought that since the legal system is corrupt and the men enjoy economic power, the law will not be enforced. It says that women are not allowed to move freely. Around 73.3 per cent women are not allowed to go to bank, 84.1 said that they are not allowed to go out for job. Interestingly, answering to perception related question, 50 per cent male respondents said that women in their household are allowed to work.
Only 64 per cent men agreed to equal rights and opportunity for women and 53 per cent said that women should not be given right to divorce. Contrary to that, 80 per cent women demanded equal rights and opportunities and 56 per cent agreed to right to divorce for women.
United States Ambassador Cameron Munter and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, were the chief guests on this occasion whereas former chairperson for National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Anis Haroon presided the session. Provincial Ministers for Women Development including Tauqir Fatima Bhutto from Sindh and Ghazala Gola from Balochistan were also present on the occasion.
Anis Haroon said that though there is a huge gap between theory and practice, she as NCSW chairperson has witnessed real positive change on the ground in the status of women. “There is no discrimination against women in the Constitution of Pakistan. The only challenge is to mould the mind according to constitution,” she pointed out. She demanded the government not to delay the formulation of the new body for NCSW. “We attained the autonomy of NCSW after a very long and hard struggle and the momentum should not break by such delays,” she said.
United States Ambassador Cameron Munter said that women are the greatest untapped potential of Pakistan, which makes GEP an important project for United States. “The GEP is not about only men or women, it is about both men and women standing together to create better economic opportunities for each other,” he added.
He said that his stay in Pakistan was a memorable one and they, as a couple, have learned a lot from the extraordinary people they met during their stay.The news.