Harassment of women at workplace

ACCORDING to Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, it has received 339 cases of harassment of women at work places since its inception in 2011. Amongst these, 124 cases were registered from federal capital, 120 from Punjab, 44 from Sindh, 31 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11 from Balochistan and two from tribal areas.
In our view, these cases are only a tip of the iceberg as in our society mostly women do not muster courage due to various reasons to stand up for their due rights and lodge complaints against any mistreatment meted out to them. There are laws to shield the women against these vulnerabilities yet the lack of will to implement these laws as well as reluctance of women under peer pressure, cultural taboos and other factors prevent them to stand up and seek justice. However, the establishment of Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace and steps taken by it for ensuring conducive environment to women at working places is a welcome development. This has provided women with a platform to easily lodge their complaints and get redressal of grievances at the earliest giving them a sense of security at their respective work places. We also suggest that provincial governments and ombudsmen should also be forthcoming in creating a safe working environment for women that is free from harassment, abuse and intimidation. Provision of such an environment will encourage women, which constitute almost half of population, to work shoulder to shoulder with men and contribute to socio-economic uplift of the country. Punjab government has recently taken a positive step towards enacting the women protection bill but more needs to be done for the empowerment and emancipation of women folk. One should not forget that we are living in 21st century and we must take women along to reap the fruits of development.

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