International Women’s Day 2021

Stakeholders Dialogue on Convention 190 concerning Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

The Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) in collaboration with the All Pakistan Women Association (APWA) commemorated the International Women Day in Lahore. The theme of the IWD was ‘Stakeholders Dialogue on ILO C-190 Gender Based Violence at Workplace’.

Press release | Lahore, Pakistan | 31 March 2021
LAHORE (ILO News): Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF), in collaboration with the All Pakistan Women Association (APWA) and with the technical assistance of the ILO, commemorated International Women Day in Lahore under the theme ‘Stakeholders Dialogue on ILO C-190 Gender-Based Violence at Workplace’.

A large number of women, representing domestic and home-based workers, students, academia, civil society, parliamentarians, and other sections of society, attended the event.

Participants highlighted their societal, cultural, and workplace issues and challenges such as discrimination, violence, and harassment at work the place, limited education and training opportunities, lack of pension and transportation facilities. To address these challenges, participants recommended the earmarking of funds for programmes and the design/implementation of policies and compliance with legislation that promotes gender equality.

Mr Malik Tahir Javed, representing the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) highlighted the effective collaboration that the EFP has with the PWF for promoting social dialogue and addressing the mutual challenges of the world of work in an amicable way. He also reiterated the commitment of employers to providing enabling and violence-free workspaces.

Mr Khawaja Javed Akhtar, Forward Sports Sialkot, presented the case of the company, which employs 33% of women in the workforce and is implementing a zero-tolerance to workplace harassment policy led by worker-management committees with female members. Forward Sports also provides separate transport facilities and childcare facilities for its female workers.

Mr Zahoor Awan, Chairman, Steering Committee of PWF highlighted the procedural aspects through which a convention is adopted in the ILO and recollected that the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment, 2019 (C-190) was endorsed during the ILO centenary celebration. He also explained that after adoption, the ratification of a convention takes at least a year, but C-190 has already been ratified by six countries. The adoption of C-190 was a landmark achievement in the history of the ILO, he shared.

Ms Samina Farooq, Deputy General Secretary, Domestic Workers Union (DWU) highlighted the issues and various kinds of harassments that domestic workers face at their work places. She stressed upon the need to have legal punitive action against employers who falsely implicate the domestic workers on charges of theft. She also said that the DWU had provided them with a good platform and given them awareness of their rights through various trainings.

Mr Ahmed Javed Qazi, Secretary, Department of Labour, reiterated the commitment of the Government of Punjab in providing equal opportunities to women/girls, as women are equal partners in the development of Pakistan. He shared that the Government had created an enabling environment and harassment-free workplaces through legislation and the setting up of relevant committees and that the Government was committed to doing its utmost to promote gender equality in all occupations.

Ms Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Member National Assembly (MNA), and Ms. Ayesha Malik, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) represented the parliament in the event. Ms. Ayesha Malik highlighted the efforts of the Government in legislating for harassment-free workplaces even before the ILO Convention C-190. Both, however, emphasized the need to implement the law and called upon stakeholders to join hands to promote gender equality and harassment-free workplaces.

Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO Pakistan Office, emphasized the need for equal opportunities for women in the workplace and society in general. She also interacted with the participants, sought their comments, and input on issues and challenges women face in the world of work and possible solutions.

Mr Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Pakistan Office, presented the main points of ILO Convention C-190 (Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, No.190).

Ms Dur e Shahwar, APWA and Mr. Saad Muhammad Chaudhry. PWF oderated the event.