Karachi—Society will not prosper till the rights of the women are accepted and they are considered as equal citizens. The day of March 8 is the symbol of the global struggle of women and in Pakistan the women would also struggle against the class-based exploitation and extremism.
These views were expressed by the speakers in a gathering at Karachi Press Club (KPC) on the international women’s day, organized jointly by Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) and National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), said a statement on Monday.
A large number of home-based women workers (HBWWs), labors belonging to different industries, and the affectees of Baldia factory fire tragedy attended the event. On the occasion, candle-lit was also arranged in the memory of the struggle of working women while a glowing tribute was paid to the victims of the Baldia factory fire.
Addressing on the occasion, General Secretary HBWWF, Ms. Zahra Khan said 80 per cent of the national economy is contributed by the informal sector and women comprise 70 per cent of this sector and their number is increasing rapidly.
According to an estimate their number is more than 16 million, but these workers are not given the rights of legal recognition as worker, she said. These HBWWs are an important part of the production process and they contribute up to 40 per cent in the national economy. However, as they are unskilled worker, there is no scale of their salaries and wages.
Vice President of Association of the Affectees of Baldia Tragedy, Saeeda Khatoon said that the women workers have been facing the worst conditions in factories and work places even in the twenty- first century. She said a large number of the victims of the industrial mishaps are women workers as its example is the tragedy of Baldia factory fire in which a large number of the women workers perished.
However, their heirs are struggling for getting justice even after passing of three years, she added. Deputy General Secretary NTUF, Nasir Mansoor said that the number of home-based workers are rising sharply in Pakistan; however, they are not getting due attention for resolution of their problems.
He said that millions of HBWWs use their homes as factories to produce goods and they themselve pay electricity, gas and other utility bills in this regard. He said that the HBWWs are the part of the production process in 80 per cent localities of Karachi, but they brave abject poverty.
However, now the HBWWs have already started a struggle for their rights which would play an important role in a positive social change, he added. Central President NTUF Muhammad Rafiq Baloch said that millions of workers are attached with the informal sector.
Though the statistics play an important role in planning for national economic development, but still the workers of the informal sector are deprived of the right, he added.