LAHORE: The Punjab Commission on the Status of Women launched the Punjab Gender Parity Report (PGPR) 2018, on Wednesday. The third in its series, the 2018 Report significantly builds upon its predecessors, and provides a comparison over the years on key women-related indicators in six thematic areas.
The PGPR is a compilation of analysis and a number of key findings across demographics, governance, health, education, economic participation and opportunities and justice. It also provides an implementation status of the special initiatives introduced by the Punjab government. The objective of the report is to advocate for policy-making based on the data collected, and accordingly gender sensitive and citizen-responsive budgeting in all sectors.
Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana was the chief guest of the ceremony. He appreciated the report’s findings in providing the government with an opportunity to effectively respond to the needs of local populations through targeted policies and development programmes.
The results of the 2018 census revealed that the population of Punjab is 110 million, with 51 percent men and 49 percent women. Annual population growth rate of Punjab is 2.13 percent, lower than the national average of 2.41 percent and that of the other provinces.
PGPR 2018 says that the female literacy rate of 54pc in Punjab is higher than the national average of 48 pc (2015-16). Likewise, female labour force participation rate in Punjab, 28pc, stands higher than the national average of 22pc. There has been a 13pc increase in female voter registration in Punjab from 2013 to 2017.
These positive trends show there is a hope for way for achievement of greater political, social and economic empowerment of women in Punjab. “Punjab’s landmark laws, policies and programmes are working to ensure that the state of women in the province improves at every step.
It is hoped that this comprehensive report will allow policy makers to precisely identify and address institutional gaps that cause gender inequality and prevent women’s empowerment,” chairperson of the commission, Fauzia Viqar, explained.
The report also points out that despite significant steps taken to prevent violence and protect women in 2016, there were 7,678 reported cases of violence against women in 2017, an increase of 5pc from 7,313 cases in 2016.
By the end of 2017, a total of 66,293,547 people in Punjab had CNICs, of which 59pc were men and 41pc women. Further, women in Punjab constituted 44pc of the beneficiaries of social security services provided by Punjab Social Protection Authority in 2017.
The government’s aim to have a minimum of 15pc women in public sector employment is steadily being implemented. However, challenges to women’s participation in employment and decision-making exist.
The PGPR depicts the vulnerabilities faced by women due to gender inequality, discrimination, lack of adequate education and economic opportunities. The event included a panel discussion on advancing gender parity through collection of gender disaggregated data, and introducing policies to address gender gaps highlighted in the data.
The panelists spoke at length regarding the measures to be taken by the government and other stakeholders to mainstream women's empowerment, and how grave social and economic inequalities cannot be ignored amidst global development goals and standards set by international actors.
Minister for Finance Aisha Ghous Pasha acknowledged the commission’s efforts in also relaying updates on implementation of policy and administrative measures in Punjab to further the interests of women in the province.