Last month, the government presented the National Gender Policy Framework to promote equality in the society, to give proper opportunities to women in fields of education, politics, employment and health among others. The government declared 2022 as the year of “year of female employees”.

Presenting the framework, the then federal minister for planning and development, Asad Umar said, “the policy talks about instituting governance mechanisms to ensure that all committed is rolled out effectively for empowering the women of our country.”

The launch ceremony was attended by some very notable and powerful keynote female women including Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistance to former Prime Minister and Federal Minister, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Dr. Shireen Mazari, former Federal Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Shabnum Sarfraz, Member Planning Commission and Lt. General Nigar.

During her keynote, Dr. Nishtar spoke about the “importance of gender equality to tackle the issue of poverty and sustainable development in the society.”

Meanwhile, Shireen Mazari discussed the PTI government’s policies and legislations that have been introduced to ensure gender equality and tackle the issues like domestic violence, oppression and gender discrimination.

The policy is based on six key features, including:

  • “Equality and Quality in Education” to ensure proper and equal opportunity of education for women across the country along with equipping the young girls and women with high-income skills.
  • Then comes the “Governance” feature which talks about developing a gender-transformative governance structure under which the women can play equally and vital role in governance and making state policies.
  • The point of “Employment and Economic Empowerment” focuses on providing equal access of work opportunities with safe working environment so that the women can wholly utilize their skills and professional expertise.
  • Then the “Agency, Political Participation and Meaningful Engagement” talks about providing channels to women so that they can work on their leadership skills, mentorship and ultimately play vital role in policy making and program designing for the governments.
  • The “Health and Well-Being” point emphasizes on a structure with the goal to provide gender-sensitive health elements to the women across the country and providing them an easy access in every region.
  • Last but not least, “Safety and Security” feature tends to end domestic violence and oppression of women in our society through development of new protection systems, policies and programs.

But, critics ask: will it work? They say the policy seems great on paper and it is not the first time a positive policy has been presented by any government on gender equality. They maintain that the issue is implementation and more importantly telling the people, especially women, how this policy will work, how it will benefit them and how they can take benefits from it. Furthermore, critics maintain, the men of the families, in both rural and urban areas, need to be taught about this because accept or not, men still play a dominant role in our social family structure.

“Economic growth cannot be achieved without sustainable development and peace or prosperity without gender equality,” notes Dr Shireen Mazari.