Women Development Issues in Pakistan: Mainstreaming gender in development responses



22 October, 2014 - UNODC Country Office Pakistan organised a lunch seminar "Women Development Issues in Pakistan: Mainstreaming gender in development responses" The event was a collaborative effort between UNODC and UNWOMEN. The keynote guest speaker was Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Chair of the National Commission on the status of women in Pakistan (NCSW).

This seminar is part of a larger effort to enhance COPAK's staff understanding of the current challenges faced by women in Pakistan and how UNODC's work can more effectively reflect gender sensitive responses in the various aspects of its mandate.   Mr. Collie F. Brown, Officer-in-Charge and Advisor on Criminal Justice thanked the guest speaker and remarked that "this event is a first step towards understanding and mainstreaming more gender responsive approaches in our programmes." 

Cesar Guedes, Representative UNODC Pakistan,  who was attending Triangular Initiative Conference in Iran, remarked from there and endorsed that this first step will enhance the work of UNODC in supporting the government in implementing appropriate gender based criminal justice approaches.

Ms. Mumtaz shared that the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) is committed to addressing the challenges of the marginalised position of women in Pakistan. The Commission functions as an oversight body to ensure that the voices of women and their concerns are brought to the attention of policy and decision-makers. The commission is faced with immense challenges to empower women due to the socio-economic dynamics of Pakistan.  

Remarking to the attendees, she commented that there were 18,037 cases of violence against women during 2010-2013. Most of these cases remain unreported and the conviction rate is very low at approximately 3%. Other challenges include the high unemployment rate nearly 9%, low wages and internal trafficking of women. Ms. Mumtaz emphasized the need to empower women socio-economically, conduct awareness raising campaigns and engage in eradicating internal trafficking of women in Pakistan.  Following the presentation, UNODC staff engaged with Ms. Mumtaz with several questions.  

The seminar concluded with comments that despite multiple challenges faced by Pakistan, programmes and policies devised for women empowerment can bring about positive and sustainable changes. UNODC extended an invitation to collaborate with the Commission and explore areas where both organisations might work together. 

At the end Ms. Mumtaz appreciated this knowledge sharing opportunity provided by UNODC.