“80% of women don’t know how to get loans”

LAHORE: An alliance of 25 organizations that advocates for the protection of women, launched four Oxfam reports here on Tuesday.

In a briefing by civil society activists and journalists, Oxfam’s Dr Nasira Malik said the purpose of these studies was to identify gaps in implementation. Presentations were made by Dr. Raana, Head of Department of Gender Studies, University of Punjab. She presented an overview of the main women’s issues in three provinces, Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. His team had interviewed 1,000 women in just two or three months.

The main findings were that only a quarter of women, or 26.6%, have the ability to spend their earnings while the rest are pressured by their families. Women are more aware of their right to inheritance in Lahore and the confidence to obtain it. They are 76.4%. The pay gap is 86.4% in Lahore and 90.3% in Peshawar.

About 80% of women do not know how to get loans to start a business; 75.1% of women requested training and assistance to use a computer effectively. Dr Raana said: “In Lahore, more women are facing cyber-harassment. The implementation of anti-harassment laws first requires the formation of committees in institutions and workplaces.

Dr. Tasneem Ahmer shared his research “Bridging Information and Knowledge Gaps”. Of the women surveyed, 56% said they had bought food on credit or borrowed money from non-relatives; 43% of women were unable to pay school fees for their children; 17% said they had to take their children out of school.

Ameena Rehman’s research focused on the problems faced by women in receiving money under the Ehsaas program and the benefits of social protection. “When social protection is there, people see the importance of having CNIC, citizenship,” she said. She stressed the importance of having a mobile phone through which women know the money they are entitled to receive. She said there was a need to improve the collection sites, to organize them better, adding that there was a lack of trust in the system. LUMS researcher Maria Nazar’s research focused on the vulnerabilities of home-based workers and the need to empower them to access technology to reach people. She said, “We need to subsidize women’s access to technology and devices. Home workers need money on a daily basis. Mumkin Alliance organizer Salman Abid said that in 2010 the biggest contribution to the Women’s Protection Act was from the Mumkin Alliance.

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