Gender equality report released: violence against women on the rise

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LAHORE: The Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) released the Gender Equality Report 2021 at a local hotel here on Wednesday.

Data collected to assess the status of women against more than 250 indicators were analyzed in six thematic areas: demographics, governance, health, education, economic participation and opportunity, and violence against women in the province in terms of justice ( VAW) showed an increase. Rape was the most commonly reported crime, accounting for 45% of VAW cases. Reported cases of sex crimes increased by 16 percent in 2021. Kidnapping cases increased by 25 percent, assault cases increased by 47 percent, acid throwing cases increased by 18 percent, while honor killings decreased by 17 percent. In 2021, the acquittal rate of VAW cases in Punjab was 95%. The total number of active users of the PSCA Women Safety application increased by 265%.

PCSW has produced this report with the help of UNFPA and SPO which provides interesting demographic information. The population of Punjab is 59.2 million females (49.3%) and 60.8 million males (50.7%). 64.3% of men have their own mobile phones compared to 25.3% of women while 24% of men use the internet compared to 15.3% of women. Birth registrations increased from 1.32 million in 2020 to 1.37 million in 2021 while death registrations increased from 540,681 in 2020 to 577,629 in 2021. Only seven percent of women have a driving license for cars while 0.04 percent of women have a license and only 7 percent of women have a license. Vehicles where 17.8 million men own land while on the other hand only 8.2 million women own land.

Disability enrollment tripled as 61,254 received CNIC in 2021 compared to 22,804 in 2020. Women are significantly ahead of men in higher education. In 2021, 546,674 women enrolled in higher education compared to 423,216 men. Registered women voters increased by 16%.

In the health sector, C-sections decreased by 6%. Female doctors are more in number but only 35% of them are specialists. Regarding basic facilities in offices, a panelist said that 700 offices do not have washrooms and 71 percent offices do not have day care facilities while 60.4 percent offices are without ramps. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raja Basharat, who was the chief guest, said he would discuss the Gender Equality Report 2021 in Parliament.

Chief Minister’s Spokesperson Musarat Jamshed Cheema said there is a need to stop shaming and victim blaming and encourage people to report wrongdoing. United Nation Population Fund Representative Latika Muske Pradhan, Secretary Women Development Department Samira Samad, Secretary Punjab Commission on Status of Women Nida Azhar and Senior Program Manager Awaz 2 FCDO Asim Khan also spoke. A panel discussion was also held. The panelists included Khawar, Mehreen Siddiqui, Dr. Fareeha, Amara, Asha Bidar, Toqeer Vito and Samira.

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