Month: June 2020

Month: June 2020


A discussion on how men can be engaged to ensure effective implementation of women-friendly laws and the efforts to address gender-based inequalities.

Date: 08th July, 2020
Timings: 03:30pm – 05:00pm (PKT)

Speakers for the webinar
Laxman Belbase (MenEngage Alliance GS)
Samitha Sugathimala (FSID, Sri Lanka)
Babar Bashir (Rozan,Pakistan)
Anbreen Ajaib. (Bedari, Pakistan)

About the Webinar

The speakers will analyse successes and impediments in the implementation of pro-women laws and discuss how men can be engaged in the efforts to end gender-based violence. The discussion will be guided by following questions:

  1. Which laws, aimed at ending gender-based violence, have been amended or passed in your respective countries?
  2. How effective have these laws been in protecting women against gender-based violence and safeguarding women’s rights? What role can men play in drafting such laws or advocating or lobbying for these to be passed? 
  3. How can men be effectively engaged in drafting pro-women legislation?  Similarly, how can they be engaged in implementation, especially those working in implementing bodies?
  4. In what ways can men and boys be encouraged to support and promote the implementation of pro-women laws at the grassroots level?
  5. What are some un-conventional approaches to curbing GBV and ensuring effective implementation of women protection laws?


Pro-women legislation in Pakistan
In recent years, several laws aimed at protecting women’s rights have been passed in Pakistan. These include the Protection for Women (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2006,Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace 2010,   Prevention of Anti- Women Practices Bill, Acid Control and Acid Crimes Prevention Bill 2011, Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Bill and Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2012.

Following the 18th Amendment and the devolution of power to provinces, provincial legislatures have also passed pro-women laws and made amendments to existing laws. These include the Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2013,Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act,2014 and Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016. Additionally, the Hindu Marriage Act 2016 stipulated a marriage registration process for Hindu citizens of Pakistan, allowing Hindu women to legally register their marriage.

These legislative measures are often seen as great steps towards protecting women against gender-based violence and discrimination and touted by policymakers as having improved women’s economic and social position in Pakistan. However, significant gaps remain in the implementation of these laws and the growing number of GBV cases in Pakistan overshadow these legislative achievements.

Status of women in Pakistan 
Pakistan ranks151 out of 153 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index Report 2020 index, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) only managing to surpass Iraq and Yemen. Pakistan received a score of150 in economic participation and opportunity, 143 in educational attainment, 149 in health and survival and 93 in political empowerment. A comparison of previous rankings shows that the overall ranking for Pakistan has declined from 112 in 2006 to 151 in 2020. Among the seven South Asian countries included in the index, Pakistan charted at the very bottom. Bangladesh ranked 50, followed by Nepal, 101, Sri Lanka, 102, India, 112, Maldives, 123, and Bhutan, 131. Overall, South Asia has closed two-thirds of its gender gap. The region is home to 860 million women, three-fourths of whom live in India.[1]

According to the Human Development Report 2019, Pakistan reported Gender Development Index (GDI) 0.747 and Gender Inequality Index (GII) 0.547 which was highest in the region. These indicators reflect discrimination faced by women in health, education and command over economic resources. A high GII value reveals the loss in human development due to inequality between women and men in reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity.

Pakistan’spoor performance on these indicators raise questions about the effectiveness of legislative measures aimed at protecting women and reducing gender-based inequalities and discrimination. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on social and economic life have created additional difficulties for women, with more cases of GBV being reported.[2].  Lessons from pandemics in the past also show an increased risk of sexual exploitation of women across the world[3]. If these trends are also witnessed in Pakistan, increased sexual violence, coupled with lack of access to SRH facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic can have disastrous impact on women’s health and overall wellbeing.

Role of men and boys in implementation of pro-women laws:
Several studies point to the importance of engaging men and boys in efforts to reduce GBV. Unpacking masculinities, addressing harmful practices and attitudes by includingmen and boys in discussions is pivotal bringing sustained change.

Similarly, when the implementation of pro-women laws in Pakistan is analyzed, police, health and social welfare departments emerge as key institutions where according to the law, response services are centered. Effective implementation would require both structural and non-structural changes in these institutions. Police in Pakistan, for instance, is largely dominated by men who make up around 98 per cent of the force.The police is one of the most important institutions in the implementation of pro-women laws, however, women make up only 1.5 per cent of the force. When analysed through the lens of traditional masculinities, these numbers allude to the impediments to offering quality services to women in accordance with the law. The speakers in this webinar will be discussing the importance of addressing the gender gap in public services, especially those related to the implementation of pro-women laws.


About the Webinar Series

A series of webinars is being organized under project “Engaging Men and Boys in Accelerating efforts to end GBV in Pakistan” implemented by Shirakat-Partnership for Development, Pakistan.

This webinar is the first in the series and will be followed by three more on the following topics:

  1. Systemic Barriers and Harmful Masculinities: A defacto challenge to implement pro-women Laws
  2. Role of Government Institutions in Addressing VAW and Transforming Masculine Behavior and Patriarchal Norms
  3. Accountability Mechanisms, Gender Transformative Approaches and Post-legislative Scrutiny