Oppression of women workers

By Zubeida Mustafa

For long, women have been an invisible force in Pakistan as they have sustained the family quietly while keeping a low profile. But the stark reality is now emerging that as workers in the informal sector their role is no less significant even though they continue to remain in the background. Ume-Laila Azhar, executive director of Homenet Pakistan, one of the organisers of the convention, informed participants in a media briefing that in 2007 a fifth of Pakistan’s GDP came from the informal sector comprising 20 million workers of which 12 million were women. With globalisation and liberalisation of international trade, the size of this sector has been growing over the years as has been the number of women who enter it. Their desperation, and with it, their exploitation has also been increasing. All this figures no where in official records because the home based worker is not counted as a member of the labour force by the government.

Without any social security or support but in need of resources to provide for their family, women turn to home based work as it is easier to access. It doesn’t demand stringent qualifications and education. They embroider and stitch garments, make bangles, roll incense sticks, make paper bags, process food and even make some items for the electrical goods industries. Their versatility is beyond belief.

Click here to read the article on Dawn

5 thoughts on “Oppression of women workers

  1. I agree with you , it is time politicians, multi national corporation should look into this instead of looking into profit, social responsibility is must for developing countries .I have four stories to tell. First is that much of the globalization ballyhooed by Thomas Friedman and other passionate globalization advocates may be "negative" rather than "beneficial" globalization. Second, I describe another profound occurrence, that is, the growth in number and size of gargantuan multinational corporations. Third, I describe some of the problems perceived to be created by the growth of large multinationals, such as regulatory arbitrage, degradation of the environment, and the plantation production problem. Fourth, I highlight, briefly, a few of the ongoing efforts of international organizations and so-called "soft law" to solve some of the collective action problems which exist among nation states as they attempt to prevent or forestall at least some of the more obvious detrimental effects of large multinational' presence on the globe.

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  2. dear zubeida,
    i was born in sherpur,pilibhit,up india 8 miles from the nepal border-to noor us sabah begum-and zahir uddin khan-sherpur was an estate with an area of 326 square miles-it was famous for 'tiger shooting'-my father was anti-british -the british did not like it as we controlled the barder of nepal-my mother has been honoured by a gold medal and postage stamp for taking part in the pakistan movement-the nepalese used to come and work in or forests-but in actual work the women did all thework-the men slept-when going back hey sold their daughters to us-my wet nurse sumbul was one of them-she was good looking-so i get admissions to our medical colleges to nepalese students and look after them.my best wishes to you,
    samin khan barrister-at-law.

  3. The real crime is the illiteratcy which has made millions of women voiceless ! Nearly 65 % of rural women ,age 10 +, have no say, just struggling to stay alive. The voiceless, the invisible. Not one of us speaks about Literacy for them. India, Bangla Desh even Nepal have put their act together & have programs for them (10 +) but we all …just give suggesstions & care a hang about them. Out of the 5 Provinces , only Punjab has a Department exclusively for Literacy & Non-Formal Education, away from the incompetent hands of the Education Dept’s clutches, but this too is about to be slaughtered.. We the so called women activists are so drowned in our own euphoria, our self…that beyond giving suggestions do …nothing!
    If a change is what is wanted…let us lobby , make efforts to take literacy down to our illiterate women! In Punjab alone they are about 2 crores …Instead of making tall claims …lets get all together to erradicate illiteracy from the lives of our women. From Aoathy …to Action !

  4. Oppression of women workers,
    I have read the article authored by madam Zubeida mustafa. The writer has artfully exposed the miserable condition of women in Pakistan. Especially those women who work in household are facing tough times. They are so desperate that they carry out chores in affluent household for a pittance, which is not enough to keep both the soul and body together.
    It is the responsibility of the incumbent Government to establish such a institution which should take care of certain working women. If the patronage of the Government sought for the welfare of the women workers, then they feel convenient and carry on their assigned task in a satisfactory manner.
    The wages paid to the women laborers ought to be commensurate to the amount of duty rendered by them.

    Abdul Wahid Shabab

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