ISLAMABAD: Speakers on Thursday underscored the importance of equal representation of women in decision-making through women’s contribution and achievement to law and other resources in the country.
Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with Group Development Pakistan (GDP) and the Women in Law Initiative Pakistan has initiated a project in association with the Australian High Commission on ‘Increasing Women’s Representation in Law’ and a contribution from the British High Commission.
Under this project, the Women in Law awards shall be institutionalized, a symposium on ‘increasing women’s representation in law will be held and a Women in Law web app and portal will be developed as a platform for documenting and highlighting women’s contribution and achievement to law and other resources.
The focal person leading the project is Nida Usman Chaudhry, founder of Women in Law Initiative, Pakistan with support from Valerie Khan, Executive Director of GDP has launched the project.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Dr Farough Naseem, said “there are brilliant judges as well as highly educated and competent women in legal profession in the country”.
Dr Naseem maintained, “The Supreme Court judges are eager to have a female colleague elevated to serve with them in the Supreme Court.”
Reiterating his commitment, the federal minister expressed the incumbent government had enacted law to safeguard women’s property rights.
“The law, if implemented in letter and spirit, will guarantee the right of a woman on her property within three months of filing a complaint with the Ombudsperson”, stated the minister. While expressing support for ‘Increasing Women Representation in Law’ initiative Dr Naseem said the symposium would help in capacity building of young men and women in the legal profession.
On the occasion, Australian High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw expressed that the initiative will help promote the strong contribution of women in Pakistan’s legal profession, adding it is an important gender equality goal in its own right. He was of the view that the initiative also strengthens the capacity of Pakistan’s legal system to deliver access to justice for women and children.
British Deputy High Commissioner Alison Blackburne stated, “The British High Commission is delighted to partner with Australian High Commission and Federal Ministry of Law and Justice to support efforts of the government of Pakistan to promote contribution of women in the legal profession. He added that the UK is committed to gender equality, diversity and inclusion and this initiative will further strengthen a more inclusive environment in accessing justice for women and children.
GDP Executive Director Valerie Khan termed the initiative a historical step in the right direction to achieve gender and child justice as per SDG 16.2, 5 and 17.
“We believe that access to justice will improve with more representation of women in leadership roles within the legal profession and for the first time this will be undertaken as a comprehensive initiative in Pakistan in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Law and Justice”, Valerie said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bukhari hailed the women empowerment agenda of the incumbent government saying there is dire need to address the gender gap in the legal profession and women should have a place in the decision making quarters.