KARACHI: “The political representation of women in Pakistan is higher than neighbouring countries like India, Sri Lanka and Iran. Pakistan is listed as 64th in the Inter Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) list of women in national parliaments and stood ahead of several developed democracies. In Pakistan, representation of women in the National Assembly, the Senate and Provincial Assemblies is relatively higher in comparison to other neighbouring countries. Of the 342 seats in the National Assembly, women now comprise 70 seats. In the Senate, women make up 17 percent of the parliamentary seats,” according to latest Economic Survey of Pakistan.
Women empowerment is the ability of women to recognize their rights and the role in economic and social development by fully participation in the decisions that brings a change in their lives and societies as well. Women empowerment can play very effective role in socio-economic development through participation in economic system of the country and at the same time can contribute in health and productivity of the families and communities. The government is committed to ensure empowerment of women as their participation in all walks of life is necessary for sustainable development. Women representation in the government ensures that work is done for the overall good of both genders.
The government being a state party to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is committed to implement its provisions in true spirit and has taken many steps to ensure women’s rights as envisaged in the CEDAW.
In continuation to the efforts of empowering women, government has allocated 50 percent share for women in the Prime Minister Youth Loan Scheme, which reflects the government’s dedication and commitment to provide maximum opportunities to the women. Government has focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment not only as human rights, but also because they are a pathway in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development. The main objective of the government is to ensure that women have a real voice in all governance institutions, from the judiciary to the civil service, as well as in the private sector and civil society, so that they can participate equally with men in public dialogue and decision-making and influence the decisions that will determine the future of their families and Pakistan.
Reproductive health is a state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being and does not mean the mere absence of disease or infirmity. It implies that people are able to have safe sex life, capability of reproduction and freedom of decision about reproduction. It is an important component of general health and central future of human development. Family planning is also vital to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Every human being has the right to access safe, voluntary family planning programmes and make their own choices about their sexual and reproductive health. To maintain the reproductive health, people need access to accurate information and the safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception method of their choice.
They must be informed and empowered to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and when they decide to have children, women must have access to services that can help them to have a fit pregnancy, safe delivery and healthy baby. Almost 225 million women in the world who intend to use safe and effective family planning methods are unable to do so because they lack access to information, services, or the support of their partners or communities. Most of these women with an unmet need for contraceptives live in 69 of the poorest countries of the world. The Government of Pakistan is well aware of the importance of family planning and its significant contribution in achieving MDGs. Currently the government with the corporation of United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to support family planning by: advocating for family planning, ensuring a steady, reliable supply of quality contraceptives, strengthening national health systems, and gathering data to support this work. To overcome financial constraints in the way of implementing different family planning related programs, the government has allocated considerable funds under PSDP 2014-15.
Pakistan’s Population Welfare Programme. They provide services through RHS A Centers and RHS B Centers. The RHS A and RHS B centres are hospital -based service delivery units. They provide contraceptive surgery facilities for women and men with safe and effective backup medical support. Well – established hospitals and clinics with fully equipped operating facilities (operation theatre facilities, beds for admission, post operative care, sterilization and emergency resuscitation equipment, etc.) and trained work force.
The Mobile Service Units (MSUs) are the flagship of the Population Welfare Programme. These provide a package of quality Family Planning/Reproductive Health (FP/RH) services to the people of those remote villages and rural communities where no other health facility exists. The MSUs operate from specially designed vehicles which carry all the facilities of a mini clinic ensuring complete privacy for simple gynaecological procedures.
Regional Training Institutes (RTIs) provide skill based training in Family Planning/Reproductive Health for all categories of health care providers i.e. Doctors, medical students, nurses, student nurses, lady health visitors and other paramedics. The RTIs also undertake activities focused on raising the awareness level of hakims, homeopaths, community health workers, teachers and college students..