Pakistan : Women workers vow to continue struggle for rights

6 May 2009 by Bushra Khaliq

Over 500 women join WWHL May Day rally in Lahore

In connection with May Day, over 500 women belonging to informal sector took out a rally in Lahore, Friday, led by representatives of Women Workers Help
Line. The rally started from Lahore Press club and reached at GPO Chowk
after marching on the major city roads, including Abbot Road, Nisbat Road and MeCload Road. They were welcomed on the way by general masses and trade union activists. The rally merged into other labor and trade union rallies from different part of the city, pouring in at the Chowk.

The rally participants were representing home-based women workers,
embellishment women workers, domestic women workers, Brick kiln women workers and factory women workers. They were carrying red flags, colorful banners and hand written placards, inscribed with slogans in favor of their demands. The women workers along with their small kids continued the march for over 45 minutes daring the sizzling heat of May..

Through out the way these women were raising slogans against the contract system, middle men culture and poor working conditions. They were demanding total implementation of labor laws in the informal sector which has engaged about 2 million women workers. Among prominent slogans were; equal work = equal rights, “implement minimum wages law”, home-based women workers be
provided with social security”, “provide separate toilet facility at work
place” etc.

The rally terminated at GPO Chowk, where hundreds of workers and trade unionists were already gathered to observe the May Day. Red flags were all around here along with banners. Rallies of different trade union kept on pouring in at the venue. The women rally participants had a brief sit-in at the chowk against anti-women workers polices of the government. General Secretary Women Workers Help Line, Bushra Khaliq and Chairperson Azra Shad, while addressing the women audience demanded of the government to acknowledge the informal sector women workers and provide them social

They said that women workers in the informal sector are the most exploited and marginalized section of the society as they are not recognized as workers and consequently ignored in labor policy–making process. They told the audience these women are not part of any decision making bodies and thus remained absent to assert their rights. On account of prevailing patriarchal behaviors in society these working women have to struggle more for their rights. Only an effective participation of working class of all especially women in different spheres of life on the basis of gender equity Equity The capital put into an enterprise by the shareholders. Not to be confused with ’hard capital’ or ’unsecured debt’. can guarantee a way forward to social justice in Pakistan”., Bushra and Azra asserted.

Bushra Khaliq
General Secretary
Women Workers Help Line, Lahore, Pakistan

Bushra Khaliq

est membre du Comité international de la Marche Mondiale des Femmes, représentant l’Asie. Elle est également directrice exécutive de l’organisation féministe Les Femmes en Lutte pour l’Autonomisation [Women In Struggle for empowerment – WISE].



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