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Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights urges all organisations to provide daycare facilities

13 December 2019, Lahore. With December being the Universal Human Rights Month, the Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWJDR) takes this opportunity to highlight the acute shortage of day care centres in the country and its serious repercussions on women’s mobility, their right to work, economic security and incidence of violence against them. The connection between child care and women’s access to employment is not new and plays a key role in entrenching women’s inequality more broadly.

As a state party to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Pakistan is required to ensure women have equal access to employment opportunities, choice of profession and job security. Pakistan has also ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes that women must have an equal right to work and to an adequate standard of living. Pakistan is also bound by the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that the children of working parents have access to necessary and appropriate child care services and that all children have an adequate standard of living. By not providing for adequate day care facilities at workplaces, Pakistan has fallen short of its international human rights obligations and the NWJDR urges the state authorities to urgently look into this.

Zeenat Khan, who is NWJDR’s regional gatekeeper for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa worked as a media coordinator at CAMP had to resign from her job as her workplace could not arrange day care facilities owing to a lack of resources.

In a statement released today, NWJDR said: “This incident has once again highlighted the lack of daycare facilities for the children of working women in Pakistan, which is one of many contributing factors that results in a wide gap in the nation’s gender parity scale. Due to patriarchal social norms and culture, the responsibility of childcare and other care duties falls on women and young girls. While there has been an increase in the number of women joining the workforce, both public and private workplaces have not adjusted to cater to this. It is highly condemnable that women, who disproportionately take on unpaid caregiving responsibilities, are denied these facilities at their workplaces.

“It is extremely difficult for women to work in Pakistan, particularly in cities like Peshawar owing to the cultural restrictions imposed on women. Despite all such challenges, I stepped out and worked, but I have been discouraged multiple times. My office denied arranging for childcare facilities, which caused a lot of distress since I had no childcare support at home also. After this incident I feel very discouraged but I’d still raise the issue and highlight how women suffer economically and emotionally just because they are mothers and have childcare responsibilities to attend to,” said Zeenat Khan.

‘NWJDR urges workplaces, including media organisations, to provide proper childcare facilities to working women so that they do not have to make a choice between career goals and childcare considerations. NWJDR also calls upon the government to pass legislation that requires all government and private workplaces to provide daycare facilities as under the current legislation (The Factories Act 1934) only factories are required to provide such facilities. Women make up 50 percent of Pakistan’s population and their contribution to the economic growth of the country is undeniable and crucial. For them to exercise their right to work, they must be provided with additional facilities to help them manage both homes and jobs. Amongst these, a daycare facility for their young ones is the most crucial.”

 

 

Signed by:

  1. Laiba Zainab, Freelance Journalist

  2. Manal Khan, Freelance Journalist

  3. Najia Ashar, Founder & CEO GNMI

  4. Rabbia Arshad, Multimedia Journalist/Independent Documentary Filmmaker

  5. Sheema Siddiqui, Geo TV

  6. Ailia Zehra, Naya Daur

  7. Huda Ali, Freelance Journalist

  8. Ayesha Rehman, Geo News Islamabad

  9. Sabahat Khan

  10. Sabahat Zakariya

  11. Naheed Jahangir, Tribal News Network

  12. Khalida Niaz, Tribal News Network

  13. Zeest Naaz

  14. Syeda Nabahat Shireen

  15. Mahwish Fakhar

  16. Najia Mir, Executive Director SLF

  17. Marium Chaudhry

  18. Ambreen Khan, Senior Content Editor Khabarwalay News

  19. Maryam Khalid, Deputy Director Pakistan Tribe

  20. Aneela Ashraf

  21. R Umaima Ahmed, The News on Sunday

  22. Anushe Noor Faheem, Author & Translator at Global Voices

  23. Alvina Sajid, Promo Producer Express News

  24. Jalila Haider, Advocate Balochistan Bar Council

  25. Kiran Butt, Indus News

  26. Rani Wahidi, Documentary Maker, Journalist

  27. Sanam Junejo, Associated Press Pakistan

  28. Shazia Nayyar, Reporter Aap News

  29. Syeda Nabahat Shireen

  30. Mahwish Fakhar

  31. Tanzeela Mazhar, Journalist

  32. Rabia Tabassum, Radio Broadcaster

  33. Zoya Anwer, Freelance Multimedia Journalist

  34. Nazia Memon, Freelance Journalist

  35. Shaista Hakim, Khyber News

  36. Shamim Ashraf, Editor Daily Kashmir Express

  37. Xari Jalil, Journalist

  38. Maleeha Mengal

  39. Shazia Mehboob

  40. Ramisha Ali, Correspondent Independent Urdu

  41. Rabia Noor, ARY News

  42. Mehar Khursheed, Freelance Journalist

  43. Eman Saleem

  44. Hayam Qayyoum, Media Department Foundation University

  45. Afeefa Rao, Journalist

  46. Asma Kundi, Dawn

  47. Afia Salam

 



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