GENDER EQUITY PROGRAM

Background and Introduction

Pakistan’s social and cultural fabric clearly represents a patriarchal society. So-called social, cultural and religious believes, concepts, traditions and rituals restrict women to access their basic human rights and have made women of the country almost exclusively dependent upon men in all spheres and processes of their lives. Women’s mobility is strictly restricted and controlled by men and all the decisions relating to their lives and rights are taken by men. In such a social context, Pakistani women lack social value and status because of negation of their roles and rights. Women of the country are far behind as far as the matter of access and control of resources and opportunities is concerned. Female members are hardly given opportunities to access such education and skills that can lead them towards independence and empowerment. Women are rarely given any chance to affect the decisions regarding their marriages. In most of the cases, women remain unable to acquire the right of inheritance that the laws of land and even the Islamic laws have given them.

Pakistani women status is not homogeneous, there is a considerable diversity in the status of women across classes, regions and the rural /urban divide due to orthodox socio-economic development, impact of tribal, feudal and capitalist social formation on women lives. However, in an overall context, women have an extremely low percentage of rights in society; especially the rural women are still in the process of awakening.

Among the root causes of the women’s deprivations, the notion of males’ izzat (honor) is at top of the list. Males’ honor is linked with women’s attitude, mobility and sexual behavior. So, women’s sexuality has become a so-called threat to the males’ honor and standing in the society. Such threats give birth to a variety of violence against women. 

The growing rate of violence against women is a topic of severe distress. Domestic violence is seen widely spread across all classes. Its form ranges from slapping, hitting, and kicking, to murder. The society, police and law enforcing agencies view domestic violence as a family matter; it goes unobserved until it reaches the most extreme form of murder or attempted murder. Apart from domestic violence, other critical forms of violence against women include incidences of stove burning, honor killing, dowry, acid attacks, gang rape, marital rape, trafficking of women, kidnapping, forced prostitution and sexual violence at the workplace.

The survivors of above-mentioned gender based violence (GBV) often lose confidence, become depressed and remain isolated from the social and economic mainstream. Little efforts are put in place to bring such women back in normal life; whereas, these survivors deserve attention, support and facilitation to be able to live a dignified life.

 Under this program, FFO conducts such activities and processes that help GBV survivors be economically self-reliant. A well thought-out entrepreneurship program supports the targeted women be self-employed or seek job in formal or informal sector. While these GBV survivors are economically independent, they will become an active citizen of society and be in better position to strive for their rights. Economic empowerment of women is among the cross-cutting themes and the core objective of FFO.

Program Goal
GEP is to facilitate economic rehabilitation of Gender Based Violence (GBV) Survivors through motivation, capacity building, skill enhancement and supporting linkages. Such facilitation will bring the GBV survivors back in mainstream life.

Expected impact of the Program:
The targeted 200 GBV survivors will become economically self-reliant through self employment or work placement in formal or informal sectors. The economic self-sufficiency will lead these women towards a real empowerment. When economically independent, these women will be able to have control over their assets and decisions. Such independence and empowerment will introduce new trends in communities regarding women development. The economic and social status of the targeted women and their families will be enhanced and be able to live a dignified life. 

Implementation Methodology
The approach that is employed for the implementation of the program is of entrepreneurship. First of all, a skill assessment exercise is carried out with the targeted GBV survivors to assess their existing aptitude/skill sets and identify potential for future activities. Based on the assessment, customized rehabilitation plans are prepared for each survivor and they are organized into common interest groups (CIGs). The members of a particular CIG are of a same category of trade or sector. 

Appropriate/customized modules are developed for capacity building and skill development of each CIG. Following these modules, the targeted GBV survivors are imparted life skills including vocational and technical skills. The imparted skills are the basis of their employability and work placement.

Apart from skill-based vocational and technical trainings, the targeted beneficiaries are also imparted a customized training called enterprise development training (EDT). This training module includes basic business orientation, financial management, book keeping, marketing etc.

Parallel to these trainings, motivational sessions and exercises are also conducted with these women to create courage and will within them to be back in normal life.

After imparting the required trainings, the GBV survivors will be facilitated to be self-employed or be place in formal or informal sector. This important activity will be accomplished through facilitating loans from MFIs and linkages with a range of institutions, organizations and departments.

Key activities and description, including outputs/deliverables and indicators being used:

  • Conducting skill assessment exercise with the survivors to assess their existing aptitude/skill and identify the future training and capacity building needs
  • Preparation of appropriate rehabilitation plan for each survivor
  • Formation of common interest groups (CIGs) consisting of survivors of same aptitude, trade or sector
  • Development of technical and vocational training modules for each CIG
  • Conducting trainings for different CIGs
  • Development of enterprise development training (EDT) module
  • Conducting enterprise development trainings
  • Conducting motivational sessions and exercises with the survivors
  • Facilitating access to microcredit
  • Facilitating access to internship and jobs