PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN: In a country like Pakistan where women hold nearly 50 percent of the population (Pakistan’s Census Report 2017), face major challenges from the society. Women entrepreneurs who are known to be as a backbone of the economies in a country have no access to the basic right in Pakistan.
Societies in Pakistan are very challenging for working women and it is more challenging for women entrepreneurs as they have to look after everything from initial start-up to proper running of the enterprise.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa North West province of Pakistan agriculture and livestock is the largest sector while women play a significant role spending an average of 6 to 7.5 hours per day in agriculture activities. Despite their widespread involvement, development policy has largely ignored or only marginally addressed women’s role in agriculture and livestock.
As per the Gender Gap Report (2018) Pakistan is considered as a third most dangerous place for women in the world. The situation is very alarming for this gender which is indicated by several reports.
According the report Pakistan ranks at 148th position out of 149 countries. It indicates that it is the 2nd worst country in respect of gender parity. The report by GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) in 2011 revealed that Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan are the countries where the participation level of women is the lowest in factor driven economies.
Women and indigenous people play a crucial role in protecting land, resources and territories, and their work is indispensable in global efforts to mitigate the climate and planetary ecosystems crisis. But many indigenous face enormous risks and violence, from both international and national, state and non-state actors.
Qamar Naseem Programme Coordinator, Blue Veins, working on women rights informed that typically women are bypassed in programs such as sector specific training; technology upgrading initiatives and access to finance etc, that are designed to improve productivity and economic growth in agriculture and livestock production.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that agricultural output could increase by 2.5 to 4 percent if women farmers had the same access as men to agriculture inputs such as land and fertilizers. Thus, yields in KP could increase by 3.8 to 6.1 tons per hectare for wheat and 4.4 to 7 tons per hectare for maize if women have similar access to agricultural inputs.
39 percent of people are living below the poverty line which is much higher than the national level. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas where more than 80 percent of the population of KP lives, According to the KP Integrated Development Strategy.
According to Qamar Naseem large proportion of the population, especially women, lives at or near the poverty line, and the vulnerability of this group worsens in the event of a natural disaster or economic upheaval.
Health Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa data stated that the infant and maternal mortality rates in KP of 63 per 1,000 live births and 275 per 100,000, respectively are higher than the national averages.
Qamar Naseem said that women are largely confined to unpaid domestic labor, animal husbandry and agriculture work, though their degree of their involvement in formal and informal labor markets varies from district to district, and even from village to village. In some locales, women look after the livestock inside the family compound; in others, they take the animals out to graze as well.
Women rights activist Naseem said that many women workers are entirely unpaid, especially in the agriculture sector. Women’s opportunities to earn income are limited by the same cultural restrictions that restrict access to education and health facilities.
For example, women’s mobility is limited due to concerns about their safety as well as norms of family honor and restrictions on interactions with men outside the family.
Representatives from different organizations shared their insights on gender equality in biodiversity policy at the ongoing COP15 in Montreal Canada.
According to Archana Soreng (India) member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, environmental policies that truly include women are possible and they play a key role in conservation and sustainability.
“The post-2020 Global Biodiversity framework must be elaborate from the perspective of a gender-sensitive and human rights and include various indicators that will help people to design policies and laws”, said Archana Soreng.
Gender-sensitive approach takes into account the differences between men and women in all aspects of the planning and implementation, from an initial idea to formulating solutions. Also it recognizes the vulnerability of women that are struggling to defend land, resources and territories.
“If you want to boost the economy of country, you should have to educate them, provide them basic facilities and give them access to work in every field of life,” Naseem
Qamar Naseem suggested that government and civil societies should facilitate the women and provide them basic facilities such as education, health and access to work in every filed.
This story was produced as part of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network Fellowship Program to the CBD COP15 Summit in Montreal, Canada. The writer can access on @asad_ziakhan