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On International rural women day, HWA finds miserable conditions of women in rural parts of Sindh

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On the occasion of International rural women’s day, in a press statement, the Hari Welfare Association (HWA) stated that the government of Sindh lacks both empathy and sympathy with rural women of Sindh; thus, rural women are the most sufferers of economic, social and political issues in Sindh.

They are victims of poverty, debt bondage, slavery, forced marriages, honor killings, child marriages, domestic violence, abuse, and malnutrition.

They are also deprived of health and education services and kept away from economic and political opportunities.

The statement also said that the current Pakistan Peoples’ Party government in Sindh is famous for introducing human, child and women rights protection laws.

However, the implementation of laws has remained a severe problem in the same government. In December 2019, the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers’ Act was passed in Sindh’s provincial assembly.

Yet, the government has neither made any budgetary allocations, not devised any plan of action or policy to implement the law to protect peasant women.

Section 21 (2) of the Act suggests that the labor, fisheries, land revenue shall prepare and implement a five-year plan from the date of enactment of the law.

These will do it to make their outreach and services appropriately accessible to women’s needs and rights in the agriculture sector.

Also, the government has not framed rules as given in Section 22 of the Act. HWA stated that the Government of Sindh had launched the Landless Hari Project in 2009 to distribute agriculture lands to women mainly.

However, the project has many serious issues, but it was an excellent initiative to support women in rural areas. According to the 2017 Census, Sindh’s total population was 47.883 million, of which 22.956 million (48 percent) were females, mainly in rural parts of Sindh, where the literacy rate is 45 percent as compared to 80 percent in urban areas.

The low literacy rate in rural areas means most women and girls are not being sent to the schools because of the absence of girls’ schools, female teachers, or feudal and tribal system, which control the society.

HWA stated that in Tharparkar, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Jacobabad, and Badin districts, women live in the worst conditions, almost without access to health and education services and facilities.

HWA grieved that more than 70 percent of the rural women in Sindh work in the agriculture sector. Still, they and their children are victims of poverty, malnutrition, hunger, and lack of access to essential health and education services.

HWA said that girls and women in rural areas are still subject to mental tortures inflicted through males or by preferences. Boys’ choice often deprives girls of adequate food and nutrition. HWA stated that from 2014 to 2019, 769 people were killed in the name of honor that includes 66 percent of women and girls in Sindh.

These figures are horrific details of the controlled society of tribal and feudal lords. HWA stated that from 2014 to 2019, 786 cases of child marriages in Pakistan were reported by Sahil’s cruel numbers published annually.

Of the total child marriage cases, 483 (63 percent) cases were reported in Sindh, in which girls were the main target.

HWA said that protection of women and girls in rural areas from all forms of abuse and exploitation and deprivation from food, health, and education rights is only possible if the government of Sindh introduces society’s empowerment programs’ through women’s education, health, and financial stability through effective implementation of laws and policies for women protection.

Women should make women entitled to housing schemes, and all rural women should be covered in social security schemes.

HWA said that the government should implement the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers’ Act.

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