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, statement read.
In December 2019, the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers’ Act was passed in Sindh’s provincial assembly when 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, it said.
HWA stated that the Government of Sindh had launched the Landless Hari Project in 2009 to distribute agriculture lands to women mainly but unfortunately the project had many serious issues, but it termed it an excellent initiative to support women in rural areas.
HWA’s said that 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 Badin, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Jacobabad and others districts, women live in the worst conditions, almost without access to health and education services and facilities.
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, it stated.
HWA stressed that the government should implement the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers’ Act.