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Planning Commission disseminate study to inform gender mainstreaming across public sector offices

Dated : 12 May 2022

Following the launch of the National Gender Policy Framework for Pakistan and the declaration of 2022 as “year of female employees”, the Planning Commission disseminated the results of a survey conducted to assess gender conduciveness of work environment in public sector workplaces. The high-level policy forum was chaired by Dr Jahanzeb Khan, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission who in his opening remarks said that the Government of Pakistan recognizing the importance of women empowerment as a cross-cutting theme rolled out this study across public sector offices in the capital territory. The evidence is expected to guide development of a package of key program and policy interventions which will be introduced with the active support of senior officials who have been notified as gender focal persons in every federal ministry and its associated department.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Daud Bareach, Secretary Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives informed that Gender Accelerators are being established at the Planning Commission and in all Planning and Development Departments to mainstream gender across all policies and programs.

Dr Shabnum Sarfraz, Member Planning Commission informed that a total of 552 women serving at various Federal Ministries & line departments participated in this study which was facilitated by the 102 Gender Focal Persons notified at each ministry and its line departments. She made a detailed presentation and shared the findings of the study which indicated that out of the total staff employed, 89% are Males and 11% are females. Amongst these only 18% are in BPS Scale 17 and above and the number sharply declines in the higher scales with only 1% females working at the senior most scale. The study highlighted the need for day care centres which were reported in only 35% of the total offices surveyed. Only 8% of the ministries have a female cafeteria and 27% reported a female staff room. Of the total number of officers promoted, 20% were females and 80% were males in the last one year. Over 90% female staff considered provision of female only transport facility extremely important and 97% considered provision of pick and drop facility for female staff critical. 84% of the female staff was not comfortable using the current public sector transport options available and 88% reported their families to be concerned when they had to use it. 46% of the respondents reported to have experienced an untoward incident/harassment while using public transport services. 95% of the female officers regarded mentorship and career counselling extremely important for their careers while a negligible number reported of being part of any mentorship or counselling sessions. 56% felt that female staff should not be asked to do late sittings. While 70% felt that harassment at workplace is an issue, 65% were strongly in favor of women working in the public sector.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission asked the Establishment Division to review recruitment policies and ensure that all job advertisement remain open to both males and females within the public sector. He asked for subject of gender mandatory within the training curriculum for all senior management courses. Ministry of Housing & Works was asked to look into how workplaces designs could promote integration while remaining sensitive to female facility requirements at workplaces. Ministry of information was asked to design media campaigns focusing on women in workplaces and the issues surrounding them. Ministry of Human Rights was asked to ensure that they take up the agenda at national level, collate information on provincial efforts and come up with more proactive actions in this context. Planning Commission was asked to set up a dashboard for all activities being executed in this regard and arrange for quarterly monitoring forum. The Chair further stressed on the need to ensure that basic facilities like day care, female toilets, common rooms and prayer areas are in place in all workplaces.
The meeting was attended by senior representatives from UNDP, ILO, UNESCO, IOM, UNOPS, UN Women, UNIDO who appreciated the policy research led by the Planning Commission and shared their support towards executing the recommended activities for making workplaces conducive for women. Officials from provincial women development departments, federal ministries and line departments offered their active support towards executing the recommendations. Senior faculty from academic institutions offered to undertake deeper analysis of evidence, hold awareness seminars and execute trainings on workplace harassment for building capacity to effectively handle such cases.
More than 100 dignitaries attended the high level policy forum including provincial secretaries, representatives from the national and provincial commissions on women, federal gender focal persons at the ministries, gender experts, academicians, researchers, members of the civil society, NGOs and development partners.