UNITED NATIONS, Mar 16 (APP):Pakistan recognizes social protection as a fundamental right and is making “significant strides” to ensure its realization for citizens, Khawar Mumtaz, leader of the Pakistani delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), said Friday.
“Social protection is a human right and the welfare of all citizens in all stages of life is essential,” she told activists, diplomats, and academics attending what is also called the ‘women activists’ summit’.
The annual meeting of the Commission, which dates back to 1947, has brought to the UN more than 9,000 representatives from civil society organizations. It will conclude on March 22.
This year Pakistan organized a record four side-events dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women that Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said were part of “our diplomatic activism.”
In her remarks, Khawar Mumtaz, who is the chairperson of the National Commission of Women, said a good social protection policy is inclusive in all its diversity to social protection system for women and girls”.
“Feminization of inequality persists and the eradication of these inequalities in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement of women’s social security, economic empowerment and sustainable development.”
In this regard, Ms Mumtaz described as “apt and timely” the the priority theme for this year’s session “Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of the Women and Girls”.
“Social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure are closely interlinked with policy and legislative framework to ensure delivery of social security,” she said.
Pakistan’s Vision 2025, Ms Mumtaz said, prioritizes social protection through institutional restructuring; policies and fiscal reforms; women employment in public and private sector; and women’s political participation.
“Social safety net programmes are an ongoing activity to reach to the poor and disadvantaged groups,” she said.
Benazir Income Support Programme or BISP, Pakistan’s main social safety net programme, was being implemented by focusing on poor women as recipients of un-conditional cash transfer with an immediate objective to protect the poorest families from the negative effects of the economic shocks and inflation, she said. It is now reaches out to over five million poorest households of the country, and through this initiative one million girls are additionally enabled enrollment in schools.
“The main focus of this scheme is to mitigate the negative impacts of economic and food crises, inflation and reduce vulnerabilities for women through unconditional cash transfers,” Ms. Mumtaz said.
The National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) of Pakistan, she said, was aimed to patronage chronically destitute households, provide protection against inauspicious shocks and encourage investments in human and physical capital.
Besides, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Zakat, Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, she said, manifested the governments’ commitments for marginal segment of the society.
Since women were concentrated in the informal sector, rural support programmes like “Women Employment Scheme” help in poverty alleviation and mainstreaming women into economic and social development activity, the Pakistani chief delegate said.
“These initiatives are in line with dream of making Pakistan a welfare state by investing in developing human capital,” Ms. Mumtaz said, as she highlighted the commitment of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as well as human rights activist Asma Jangir to the cause of women.
“Pakistan stands ready and committed to earnestly work with members of the international community towards a future where ‘no one is left behind’ in the pursuit of self-fulfillment and prosperity,” she added.