Alliance to work for empowerment of women agri workers

Experts say rural women in agriculture sector often confront significant challenges such as lower wages.

KARACHI: A Provincial Stakeholders Alliance (PSA) has been formed for the rights and empowerment of women agricultural workers in Sindh.

An event in this regard was held in Karachi which proved to be a significant step in addressing issues raised in a research report, ‘The hands that feed us: struggles of women agricultural workers in Pakistan’ produced by Awaz Foundation Pakistan, Centre for Development Services, NARI Foundation and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development.

The alliance is a platform of representatives from various relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, bar council, and representatives from the media.

Rural women in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, often overlooked, confront significant challenges such as lower wages, malnutrition, discrimination and exploitation due to patriarchal norms. It was already highlighted by Awaz Foundation Pakistan’s study that underscored issues like limited legal awareness and urged action from district departments and ministries.
The platform aims at fostering the empowerment of women agricultural workers, brought together various stakeholders committed to creating positive change.

In his welcoming address, Iqbal Ahmed Detho, the Chairperson of the Sindh Human Rights Commission, said, “A key step in raising awareness of the rights of women agricultural workers is the formation of the Provincial Stakeholders Alliance. To guarantee their empowerment and well-being, we must all work together to put the appropriate measures into place.”
Ziaur Rehman, Chief Executive of Awaz CDS-Pakistan, introduced the project and the purpose of the PSA, emphasizing, “This platform aims to be a catalyst for positive change, ensuring the rights and empowerment of women agricultural workers are prioritized and protected by ensuring the passage of rules of business and implementation of The Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act 2019.”
Mr. Rehman addressed the challenges faced by women in agriculture, including harassment, hazardous working conditions, lack of maternity leave, and unequal pay. He underscored the imperative for Awaz Foundation, NARI Foundation and SHRC to spearhead efforts in sensitizing government officials regarding the rights of women employed in the agricultural sector.
Omar Dawoodjee, Director (Operations and Resource Mobilization FORUM-ASIA) said with the help of their partners they were working on capacity building of government officials, marginalized communities, and civil society. He emphasized the improvement of working environment for women and the need for implementation of The Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act 2019.

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