Lahore:Women Development Department (WDD) Punjab and UN Women Pakistan launched Punjab Women Development Policy (PWDP) 2018 Implementation Framework on Thursday with an objective to integrate gender focused activities in the work plans of all government departments and institutions to ensure gender mainstreaming in provincial planning.

The provincial government developed the PWDP 2018 to systematically eradicate all manifestations of explicit and implicit gender discrimination across all spheres of society and address the whole range of women development concerns and challenges in line with the spirit of the Constitution, Pakistan’s international commitments and priorities of the provincial government to pursue the goal of gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in Punjab. The policy has seven key sectoral strategies, namely Women Political Empowerment and Rights Based Governance; Women and Education/Skills Development, Women and Health; Women Poverty Reduction and Economic Empowerment; Gender Based Violence; Women and Climate Change and last but not the least Women and ICT.

The Implementation framework provides a set of activities, their monitoring and evaluation plan keeping within these strategic areas. The framework was finalized after a long process of individual and group consultations and validation workshops, repeatedly engaging with all 36 departments.

Minister Women Development Ashifa Riaz Fatyana, in her keynote address expressed her optimism that the framework will play a key role in changing realities in women’s favour in the province. She further added that poor implementation is often the cause for lack of success of any policy. This document spells out roles and responsibilities and provides one platform to all departments in Punjab for measuring success and chalking a way forward.

Ambreen Raza, Secretary WDD, said, “This framework will bring us closer to our vision of a gender-sensitive Punjab, where women and men enjoy equity and equality in all walks of life; women and girls are able to fulfil their roles towards achieving and enjoying individual and collective well-being, development and prosperity without any explicit or implicit discrimination.”

Sidra Minhas, Consultant UN Women, presented highlights of the framework identifying gender disaggregated data collection, capacity building and awareness as key activities for all relevant departments.

Jacqui Ketunuti, Deputy Country Representative UN Women Pakistan, in her opening remarks, said, “It is a matter of great pride for us that, with the strong and capable leadership of the WDD, 36 provincial departments came together and endorsed the integration of activities in their work plans to ensure that Punjab can make progress on gender equality in the thematic areas of political empowerment, education, health, economic empowerment, gender-based violence, climate change and ICT. This is the first and largest such initiative for gender mainstreaming in the province.”

Saman Ahsan, Portfolio Manager EVAW, Governance and Human Rights UN Women Pakistan, said, “UN Women and Women Development Department form a natural alliance as we both work on same agenda of women empowerment and gender equality. The framework is one commendable result that came out of this collaboration. We will continue to work together for our mutual goals and objective.”