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[Press release] UN Women and foodpanda Pakistan have reached a mutual understanding for the cooperation and promotion of gender equality in the workplace through initiatives undertaken to address and implement strategies pertaining to gender-responsiveness and an environment devoid of discrimination and harassment.
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The agreement was signed today in Lahore by Sharmeela Rassool, country representative of UN Women Pakistan, and Wajeeha Khalid, business head, Nishat Mills Ltd (Apparel Division). Nishat Mills is also a signatory of the global Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of guidelines for businesses to safeguard and promote women’s rights and empowerment in the workplace.
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“Women and men play a multi-faceted role in peacebuilding. Violent extremism is a phenomenon that impacts everyone and men and women are equally vulnerable to being affected and recruited by extremist ideologies,” says Durr e Maknoon, Director General Outreach of National Counter Terrorism Authority, Pakistan (NACTA).
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I am gravely concerned by the Taliban's announcement that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives. Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. It is an absolute prerequisite for women’s ability to exercise the full range of their rights and to be active participants in society.
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UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives.
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women signed a letter of intent committing to strengthen their partnership to protect the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The complex humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan is marked by gender-specific restrictions that directly impact the ability of women and girls to realize their rights. Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and risks as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs.
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Mursal Samadi* had worked as a prosecutor, independent investigator, and a civil society leader for more than 16 years in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. She remains in Afghanistan, advocating for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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A fatwa was issed against me; they condemned me for normalizing obscenity and indecency among women by persuading them to come out of their homes. … I said, ‘You should also give a fatwa against Hazrat Khadija (the first wife of Prophet Muhammad) because she was also a trader.’ “God has not made us as weak as we have made ourselves.”
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On 21 October 2021, UN Women and partners facilitated the participation of a delegation of Afghan women to speak at a series of events and high-level meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The delegation included parliamentarians, women’s rights advocates, journalists, civil society leaders, and researchers.
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On Thursday, 21 October, the UN Security Council will convene its annual Open Debate on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the landmark resolution that recognized the impact of conflict on women and girls and the importance of women’s leadership in peacebuilding and peacemaking. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic added to the evidence on the effectiveness of women’s leadership at the highest levels of public life.
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Naheed Farid was among many women leaders who left Afghanistan, fearing for their lives, as the Taliban took over in August 2021. Farid spoke at the UN recently, calling for international support to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to safeguard women’s rights.
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In an op-ed for the Global Governance Project, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous writes: "The international community, including G20 leaders, have an opportunity to work together in unity to prevent the reversal of the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls and to work constructively to enable a more inclusive trajectory that will actively foster peace and resilience in Afghanistan – and the region."
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Alison Davidian, Deputy Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan, breaks down what women in Afghanistan need most right now, what UN Women is doing for women in the country, and how the international community can support Afghan women now.
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Hasina Safi served as Afghanistan's acting minister for women from May of 2020 until August 2021, and as Minister of Information and Culture before that. Ms. Safi has over 20 years’ experience in women development programs working with Afghan civil society organizations international organizations and UN agencies.
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“Society as a whole should standup and protect women against harassment,” the president told a national seminar on protection of women against harassment, adding it is our religious duty. “Harassment cannot end only with legislation but with collective effort of society”He also said that we have a similar duty to respect women’s full property rights, which unfortunately is not protected in some parts of the country.
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UN Women hosted a convention on CSR4Women – The Untapped Potential in Islamabad on September 21, 2021. The event was supported by the Government of Norway and chaired by Sima Kamil, the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. The convention brought together business leaders, CEOs of private companies, heads of Chambers of Commerce, development partners and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) experts.
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“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence. In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said. “I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights.
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“Women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. Women’s participation in all walks of life is essential for an inclusive, strong, and prosperous society in Afghanistan, both to meet the many challenges the country faces today and to succeed tomorrow. It is therefore critical that political decision-making processes are participatory, responsive, equitable, and inclusive,” stated Pramila Patten.
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As Afghanistan begins a new chapter, Mohammad Naciri of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific says women and girls must retain their right to participate in public life, not just politically, but also socially and economically. Women’s access to services for health, education, legal and others must also be preserved.
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Mohammad Naciri of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific says the Taliban made public statements ensuring the safety and security of women and girls. However, what is being said in Kabul may not have a trickle-down effect to the provinces and villages of Afghanistan.