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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2014 with domestic female workers, Lahore


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2014 with domestic female workers

Gender Equity Program (GEP) of Aurat Foundation Lahore office, in collaboration with Asavari Development Organization, arranged an event, on March 16, 2014, with the domestic female workers of Mariam Nishat Colony to celebrate International Women’s Day.

GEP team, domestic female workers of the colony, staff of Asavari Development Organization and volunteers from domestic workers’ group of Gujranwala attended the event.

Hasna Cheema, Deputy Program Manager GEP, briefed the audience on the history and work of Aurat Foundation. She also provided a quick introduction of Gender Equity Program, with reference to its work being implemented in Punjab region. She highlighted the initiatives of GEP’s recent cycles in which the Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors were provided with the facilities of shelters, help lines for psycho-social counseling and referrals and opportunities of economic rehabilitation.

Sumera Saleem, Senior Program Officer GEP, explained the objectives of the event. She highlighted the importance and significance of March 8 - International Women’s Day for women’s rights across the world.

Domestic female workers of the colony shared that they alone carry the economic burden of their families and also observe customary practices set by the society. They said that the employers exploit their rights lack of awareness on their rights and supporting laws. They also shared the issues of low wages against their services. Sexual harassment by the employers is the major problem faced by domestic female workers which needs to be addressed properly on priority basis.

Aster Anjum, focal person from Asavari Development Organization, gave the introduction of Asavari and shared the nature of work being done.

Towards the end, a small group from domestic female workers presented a theatre play, titled ‘Khud Ko Badlo To Zamana Badlay Ga’. They highlighted the major problems of low wages for their services, accusation of theft and sexual harassment by employers in their performance. They also emphasized upon the need to change societal attitudes.