UN Women Pakistan
Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous country and the second largest South Asian country.
The sixth Population and Housing Census held in 2017 reveals Pakistan's population has increased by 57 per cent, from 132.3 million in 1998 to 207.7 million. The Census also shows that men have outnumbered women, where men are 51 per cent of the total population and women are 49 per cent.
Pakistan has adopted a number of key international commitments to gender equality and women’s human rights – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
National commitments in place include a National Policy for Development and Empowerment of Women, Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences in the name or pretext of Honour) Act, Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences Relating to Rape) and a National Plan of Action on Human Rights. Local commitments adopted include Gender Equality Policy Frameworks and Women’s Empowerment Packages and Initiatives.
Despite these commitments, Pakistan’s ranking for gender equality remains one of the lowest in the world.
With gender equality and women’s empowerment being at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Women in Pakistan is working with its partners to ensure:
- An enabling environment to translate, monitor and report on implementation of gender equality and women’s empowerment commitments
- Gender responsive plans, policies and systems of governance with institutions being more accessible to and delivering equally for women and girls
- An environment where women benefit from decent work, income security and socio-economic development
- A safe environment where women and girls can live a life free from violence in private and public spaces, and survivors are able to access quality essential services
Principles guiding the work of UN Women in Pakistan are:
- A human rights-based approach and leaving no one behind
- National and local ownership aligned with priorities
- Leveraging mutually reinforcing benefits
- Acting as a catalyst and promoting United Nations coherence
- Accountability for results, transparency and cost effectiveness
Economic Empowerment of Women Home-Based Workers and Excluded Groups in Pakistan
Women from marginalized social classes face multiple challenges and are often only able to work from home. These women engaged in the informal sector of the economy are called Home-Based Workers (HBWs).
Of the estimated 20 million HBWs in Pakistan, 12 million are women. According to UN Women’s Status Report, 2016 on Women’s Economic Participation and Empowerment in Pakistan, women account for 65 per cent of the PKR 400 billion (USD 2.8 billion) that HBWs contribute to Pakistan’s economy.
However, most receive low wages and are denied legal protection and social security.
To change this, UN Women Pakistan, with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan, initiated a three-year (2017 – 2020) project ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Home-based Workers and Excluded Groups in Pakistan’.
This documentary explains how women HBWs and members of excluded groups – such as transgenders and women with disabilities – were engaged and benefited from multipronged interventions.
In an attempt to root out the social evil of dowry, United Nations (UN) Women Pakistan launched a campaign to address those who indulge in the practice of accepting dowry. “Stop Jahezkhori“, meaning stop the practice of dowry. The phrase is also the official hashtag of UN Pakistan’s campaign.
A henna stencil was designed to engage the audience, influencers, celebrities, civil society activists and government officials, which was put on hands to show solidarity towards ending the practice of dowry and violence related to it.
End Violence against Gender Minorities
“Gender minorities face a higher rate of discrimination and violence than the male and female gender due to social norms and beliefs. Many are deprived of their rights to health care, education, employment, political participation and inheritance. See more: http://bit.ly/2ASwapf
The #Bridal Uniform
“This year’s Bridal Couture Week was much the same as previous years, where bride after bride walked out on the ramp wearing magnificently extravagant outfits. However, right at the end of the bridal week, one specific outfit caught everyone’s attention... Read more
On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we give you Iqra’s story. Women with disabilities are more vulnerable to face violence in all its forms; be it physical, emotional, psychological or verbal.
This year’s theme is ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all', and at UN Women Pakistan we are committed to increasing our focus on ensuring that women with disabilities are included in all our programmes, especially on economic empowerment, prevention of violence and access to justice.
#BeatMe… I AM UNBEATABLE
Recently launched through social media with a video that features Pakistani women of strength from multiple walks of life, the campaign challenges their counterparts to beat them at their respective expertise, and at the amazing things women have achieved, globally.
The ‘#BeatMe’ campaign juxtaposes every means of abuse against a strength of each woman. Verbal abuse is addressed by challenging men to beat women with their voice and words from the likes of Meesha Shafi (singer) and Sana Bucha (journalist). Read more on #BeatMe
News and stories
Farheen Sarwat, along with a team of emergency doctors and nurses, is playing a critical role as a frontline responder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A dowry consists of gifts, jewellery, cash or assets that the bride’s family is expected to give to the groom’s family at the time of marriage. When expectations are not met, the bride and her family often are subjected to harassment and violence despite several (poorly enforced) laws against the practice. A March 2016 story in Pakistan’s The News International said Pakistan has the highest per capita rate of dowry-related deaths in South Asia – about 2,000 Pakistanis suffer this fate every year. UN Women Pakistan’s social media campaign began in December 2018, in time for Pakistan’s winter wedding season.
[Press release] Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Human Rights, Provincial Ministers, Secretaries of Women Development Departments (WDDs) and Chairpersons of National and Provincial Commissions on the Status of Women (CSW) resolved to expedite efforts for achieving gender equality and pursue women’s empowerment as the world is set to mark the 25th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action – Beijing +25 – next year.
“I was born to parents belonging to the lower middle class in a small village near Sialkot in north-eastern Pakistan. I lived a simple and peaceful life before marriage, but my ordeal started as soon as I stepped into my husband’s house. My husband was a drug addict who would expect from me to work and provide for his bad habits. I would work at home stitching working gloves, only to see my meagre income taken away by my husband. I lived through constant humiliation, violence and dilemma for years. But I survived.
[Press Release] The Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) today launched Commission’s first ever three-year Strategic Plan, with support from UN Women Pakistan, outlining three strategic priorities including review of Sindh’s laws, rules, regulations, policies and programmes from gender perspective, ii) actions to end violence against women and girls, iii) and institutional capacity building of the SCSW.
[Press Release] UN Women today launched the Essential Service Package (ESP) in order to ensure that quality social services are provided to women and girls subject to violence in Pakistan. Essential Services Package (ESP) is a global joint programme of the United Nations on essential services for women and girls subject to violence. The aim of this programme is to provide greater access to a coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services for all women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence.
[Press Release] UN Women Pakistan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office of Ombudsperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for protection against sexual harassment of women at the workplace. Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan, and Rukhshanda Naz, first Ombudsperson of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, signed the MoU.
[Press Release] UN Women and Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of the National Assembly of Pakistan on Thursday joined hands to work together for advancing the women’s empowerment and gender equality agenda, which is central to Pakistan’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Agreeing that the issue of child marriage needs a strong focus and efforts at all levels, both the entities stressed the most urgent need for consolidated and concerted action to curb child marriages from all parts of Pakistan through advocacy, awareness-raising and legislative reforms.
In Pakistan, women from marginalized social classes face multiple challenges and are often only able to work from home. Of the estimated 20 million Home-Based Workers (HBWs) in Pakistan, 12 million are women, and according to UN Women’s Status Report 2016 on Women’s Economic Participation and Empowerment in Pakistan, women account for 65 per cent of the PKR 400 billion (USD 2.8 billion) that HBWs contribute to Pakistan’s economy. However, most receive low wages and are denied.
Pakistan's population has increased 57 per cent, from 132.3 million in 1998 to 207.7 million in 2017, making Pakistan the world’s 5th most populous country and the 2nd largest South Asian country. As we witness a building momentum across the world and in Pakistan calling to end discrimination, while creating an enabling and lasting environment in which women and girls can realise their full potential, this 5-year Country Profile (2018-2022).
The Women’s Safety Audit in Public Transport in Lahore assesses the safety concerns of women and girls using public transport in Lahore. It identifies factors that may increase the chances of violence against women and girls at bus stops and on buses. It gauges the factors responsible for harassment, including sexual harassment in public spaces, with a focus on public transport. The study was conducted by the Aurat Foundation and co-led by the Women’s Development Department (WDD).
UN Women is working with national and provincial counterparts to strengthen rule of law institutions for enhancing women’s access to justice. Under the inception phase project “Strengthening the Rule of Law and Improving Access to Justice, FATA and Balochistan”, UN Women aims to analyse Rule of Law institutions and justice mechanisms from gender perspective, enhance institutional capacities and advocate for policy/legal reforms in Balochistan and FATA.
The concept of women’s economic empowerment (WEE) combines “economic advancement” and “agency” (the power to make choices and decisions for one-self), which are in turn shaped by individual and community resources and by norms and institutions. In Pakistan social vulnerability juxtaposed with economic vulnerability keeps women underpaid and overworked, even when they overcome structural and social barriers to seek employment.
Issue 1/2016 - In this issue: (*) Focus on Transforming slums into thriving communities. (*) Addressing the challenge of under-resourced urban settlements – A top priority. (*) Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. (*) Guiding urban development in Pakistan. (*) Everyone’s dream is to live in cities without slums – Achieving sustainable urbanization.
A South-South cooperation of all eight South Asian countries placed the role of women in elections and political processes, including their leadership in decision-making on the agenda both at the national and regional levels. This exchange successfully brought out commonalities of problems faced by women in their political empowerment, and their underlying drivers.