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Are Pakistan’s urban professional women immune to sexual harassment?

Saman Amir's picture

Woman face harassment in all type of jobs, no matter where or who. One can’t say that she works in a big firm so she is safe… [but] she doesn’t know who will believe her if she reports harassment – she… fears that the others will say she is asking for it.  Thus, she doesn’t say anything.” -Young working woman in Quetta.

This statement was echoed by 93 educated women of all ages in the Pakistani cities of Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, and Karachi.

In the era of the #MeToo Movement, focus group discussions with these women affirmed that sexual harassment continues to be a part of the experience of urban educated Pakistani women seeking jobs.
 
The good news is that there’s legislation to protect against harassment, the bad is that few know about it and fewer feel comfortable reporting harassment.

For employed women, sexual harassment disrupts careers and dampens professional potential; its fear can deter women from entering the labor force at all.

We explore this as part of a study on female labor force participation in Pakistan with the Center for Gender and Policy Studies and support from the Pakistan Gender Platform. 

The women we spoke with talked about experiencing sexual, physical, verbal, non-verbal or psychological harassment at the hands of supervisors, senior staff members and colleagues, as well as strangers in public transport and spaces.

They also highlighted cyberstalking, staring, phone numbers being leaked, lewd comments, stalking in public places and harassment on public transport as common occurrences, and that such harassment occurs regardless of a woman’s age or socio-economic status.

Announcing the winners of the 2018 #OneSouthAsia Photo Contest

World Bank South Asia's picture


Home to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, South Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

It's also one of the least integrated.

A few numbers say it all: Intra-regional trade accounts for only 5 percent of South Asia’s total trade; Intra-regional investment is smaller than 1 percent of overall investment.

Bangladesh Collaborates with China in Strengthening the Skills of its Youth

Mokhlesur Rahman's picture
Agreement Signing
The sigining of an agreement for educational exchange between the Ministries of Education of Bangladesh and China's Yunnan Province. 

With its youthful workforce and the aspiration to be a developed country by 2041, Bangladesh emphasizes skills development to provide its people the ability to transform the country into a high productivity economy. To accelerate progress in this area, the government has been actively tapping into greater South-South cooperation, especially with other Asian countries.

Bangladesh and the China’s Yunnan Province’s partnership on the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) is one example. Following the International Skills Conference held in Dhaka held in March 2018, a  Bangladesh delegation, led by Mr. Md. Alamgir, Secretary of the Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education, visited technical education institutions in Yunnan that are expected to receive students from Bangladesh.

Expert trainers in China will help their Bangladesh counterparts improve in the areas of student exchange, teachers’ professional development, and knowledge sharing among others. The agreement will mean that that the first cohort of 85 Bangladeshi students will be enrolled in the partnered Yunnan institutions with scholarships by September 2018.

How data can benefit Nepal

Ravi Kumar's picture

Thirty years ago, almost everyone in Nepal —except for a few professionals and business people—would have been classified as poor by any reasonable international standard.

In 2010, by contrast, 15 percent of Nepalis were considered poor.

Without a doubt, Nepal has made progress.

Now the 761 newly formed—local, provincial, and federal—governments in Nepal aim to provide all Nepalis access to essential public services, eliminate poverty, reduce gender and ethnic inequalities, and ensure environmental sustainability

The hope is that Nepal will reach middle-income status by 2030.

But tracking and monitoring progress against the goals articulated in Nepal’s development vision as well as the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impose significant demands on the country.

Unfortunately, the absence of disaggregated data by geography, sex, age, social groups and sub-national level, and more poses an enormous challenge for all levels of governments to properly plan and budget.

As such, Nepal needs to urgently invest in its data and statistics capacity.

Data is the currency for decision making and helps us understand what works and what doesn’t.

For instance, let’s consider a province in Nepal that is keen to improve learning for its public schools’ students.

Without data on students, their gender, age, academic performance, or the number of schools and teachers, the provincial government cannot elaborate an informed plan for its students.

But were policymakers able to access timely and sufficient data, they could decide whether more teachers or more schools are needed. Without data, decisions are just like shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.   

#IndiaWeWant Photo Contest: Shortlisted Entries

Roli Mahajan's picture

The World Bank in India ran the #IndiaWeWant photo competition through our Facebook and Twitter channels, where we invited participants to share photographs capturing the key development priority for India. The #IndiaWeWant photo competition was open for a month and we have received many compelling entries. 

Now it is time for us to choose our winners.

We asked a jury of three members comprising professional and development photographers -- Michael Foley, Anirban Dutta, Anupam Joshi-- to come together and do the honours.

Here are the #IndiaWeWant entries that have made it to the longlist. They will be deliberating over these soon and selecting the WINNER as well as the 9 others, as stated in the rules.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below and if one of your entries has been selected then please do send us an email ([email protected]) with the actual photograph and your details (Name, Phone Number).
 

Banking on women’s empowerment for a sustainable and stronger India 
The global efforts for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals could be accelerated by synergising women's empowerment with environmental conservation. 
Since past 32 years, Barli Development Institute for Rural Women (BDIRW) has been empowering rural and tribal women through organising free 6-monthly residential training program covering literacy, organic-farming, solar-cooking, health and tailoring&cutting. More than 8200 women have been empowered, who are changing the sustainable development horizons of their families and tribal communities (www.barli.org#IndiaWeWant 
In Picture: The women-trainees from Alirajpur (Dhauli, Rita, Angita, Karmi) planting trees in BDIRW campus (Indore, India) 
Photo credit: Yogesh Jadhav
 
For India, developing priority should be the education of girls in rural areas. They enrolled in school in beginning but they are not able to make it till the end, either they are forced to marry at the age of 10 or 13. In future, they are illiterate mothers who cannot read and write properly and also they become a victim of domestic violence as they are unaware about their rights. #IndiaWeWant
Photo Credit: Neha Rawat
To me, development is more than improvement in nation's GDP. It must be conceived as a multidimensional process, involving changes in the entire spectrum through which human capabilities are expanded, like education, healthcare, social participation or the freedom to make choices. The primary objective of development is to benefit people and improve the quality of life, which can only be achieved if all marginalised and excluded groups are equal stakeholders in the process alongwith active involvement in the planning, execution and monitoring of development programs.
The couple below selling lights which are battery operated but thankfully their smiles are not.#IndiaWeWant
Photo Credit: Maneka Naren Yadav‎

It’s time to end malnutrition in South Asia

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across South Asia as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.

In Sri Lanka, as in the rest of South Asia, improving agricultural production has long been a priority to achieve food security. 

But growing more crops has hardly lessened the plight of malnutrition. 

Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices. 
And children and the poorest are particularly at risk.

South Asia is home to about 62 million of the world’s 155 million children considered as stunted-- or too short for their age. 

And more than half of the world’s 52 million children identified as wasted—or too thin for their height—live in South Asia. 

Moderate-to-severe stunting rates ranged from 17 percent in Sri Lanka in 2016 to a high 45 percent in Pakistan in 2012–13, with rates above 30 percent for most countries in the region.

Moderate-to-severe wasting rates ranged from 2 percent in Bhutan in 2015 to 21 percent in India in 2015–16, with rates above 10 percent for most countries in the region. 

The social and economic cost of malnutrition is substantial, linked to impaired cognitive development, chronic disease, and lower future earnings.

And sadly, much remains to be done to ensure children across South Asia can access the nutritious foods they need to live healthy lives. 

In Bangladesh, building the skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Mustahsin-ul-Aziz's picture
With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, the landscape of jobs, and the skills required for jobs, are quickly changing around the world. Bangladesh is no exception. Already the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector—the leading export sector employing a significant portion of the workforce— is undergoing major automation, which threatens the loss of jobs by the thousands.

This places significant importance on continuous skills training to prepare the workforce ready for future jobs. For this, what are the policy options for Bangladesh? How can the country move forward to ride the wave of the changing tide while leveraging the burgeoning youth population?

To answer these questions, and contribute towards the skills dialogue, an International Skills Conference was organized recently in Dhaka under the theme “Building Brands for Skills of Bangladesh”. The conference brought together national and international policymakers, skills development practitioners, academics, and researchers, from China, Singapore and India for two days of knowledge sharing and networking.
 
A memo agreement between Bangladesh and China

Organized by the Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh and supported by the Directorate of Technical Education and the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP), the conference covered topics ranging from connecting skills and jobs to future proofing technical education institutions to raising the brand of skills of Bangladesh. After two days of knowledge sharing, two important themes emerged:

More women need to shape Pakistan’s digital future

Uzma Quresh's picture
Annie Gul from Codematics tells the audience of what is required to have more women digital entrepreneurs in KP
Annie Gul from Codematics tells the audience of what is required to have more women digital entrepreneurs in KP

“I have always enjoyed studying computer and human physiology since childhood, that’s why I jumped at the opportunity of developing a scientific application with KPITB’s support. This app has even helped my younger brother understand different body organs and their functions in a fun way. The KPITB’s ‘early age programming’ program has supported many girls from public schools, who would otherwise have never received this chance of realizing their dream of developing apps.”

Such compelling words came from Hafsa, a 13-year-old female student of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) public school as she addressed about one thousand young men and women at this year’s Digital Youth Summit (DYS) in Peshawar.

Girls like Hafsa are becoming the face of DYS, an annual event that brings the spotlight on young talent and their digital innovations.

I heard similar passionate accounts during my two-day interaction with KP youth as they shared candidly how they had transformed challenges into opportunities through hard work and perseverance.

DYS has brought together the next generation of digital entrepreneurs since 2014 to educate and inspire youth in a conflict-affected region where 50 percent of people are age 30 or under.

Such forums also provide a space for youth to voice their aspirations and claim for greater and more meaningful socio-economic inclusion.   

And while Hafsa’s impassionate story of progress resonated with everyone in the room, it stood as a stark reminder that Pakistan still has a long way to go to achieve an equal digital future for both men and women.

Indeed, statistics about women’s employment in KP and FATA are alarming as only 14% of women in KP and 8.6% of women in FATA work for pay.

Fittingly, DYS discussed different gender issues and offered solutions to boost female digital entrepreneurship.

இலங்கையின் தோட்ட பகுதிகளில் கல்வி மற்றும் ஆரம்பகால சிறுபராய பராமரிப்பை மேம்படுத்தல்

Shalika Subasinghe's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
இலங்கையில் தோட்டத் தொழிற்துறையானது தேயிலை,றப்பர் அல்லது தெங்குத் தோட்டங்களை உள்ளடக்கியதாகவும், அரசாங்கத்தாலோ, பிராந்திய தோட்ட நிறுவனங்களாலோ, தனி நபர்களாலோ, குடும்பங்களாலோ நிர்வாகிக்கப்படுவதாகவோ, சொந்தமானதாகவோ இருக்கின்றன.
 
இலங்கையின் சனத்தொகையில் 4 வீதமான மக்கள் பெருந்தோட்டங்களில் வாழ்கின்றனர்.  கடந்த தசாப்தத்தில் இலங்கையில், வறுமை விகிதம் கணிசமானளவு முன்னேறியிருந்தாலும் கூட, பெருந்தோட்டங்களில் வாழும் மக்கள் மிகவும் வறிய சூழ்நிலையிலேயே வாழ்கின்றனர்.
 
ஹட்டன், மத்திய பிரிவின் மவுண்ட் வெர்னன் தோட்டத்தில், ஒரு பழைய சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி மையம் (CDC) ஒன்று வீதிக்கு மிக அருகுமியில், சிறுவருக்கு அங்கிங்கே அசைவதற்கும் இடமில்லாதளவு மிகச்சிறிய இடவசதியோடு காணப்படுகிறது.
 
மிக அண்மைக்காலம் வரை மிக மோசமான நிலையில் வசதிகளற்றுக் காணப்பட்டது. அண்மையில் உலக வங்கியால் நிதி வழங்கப்படும் இலங்கை இளம் பராயத்து சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தித் திட்டத்தின் நிதியுதவியில் மூலமாக புதிய இடவசதியுடன் கூடிய CDC யைக் கட்டியெழுப்பும் வரை இந்நிலை தான் காணப்பட்டது.
 
மவுண்ட் வெர்னன் தோட்ட, மத்திய பிரிவின் ,  பிரைட்டன் முன்பள்ளி சிறுவர்கள் திறப்பு விழா நாளின்போது அனைவரையும் வரவேற்கத் தயாராகிறார்கள். படப்பிடிப்பு:  ஷாலிகா சுபசிங்க 

நிர்மாணப் பணியானது பூர்த்திசெய்யப்பட்டு 2017 ஒக்டோபரில் சமூகத்திடம் கையளிக்கப்பட்டது.
 
கிட்டத்தட்ட 20 சிறுவர்கள் தினமும்  சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி மையத்துக்கு சமூகம் தருகின்றனர்.
 
சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி அதிகாரியான கமல தர்ஷினி, சிறுவருக்கு புத்தம்புதிய இடமொன்று புதிய தளபாடங்கள், விளையாட்டுப் பொருட்களுடன் கிடைத்ததில் திருப்தியுற்றுள்ளார். அந்தச் சிறுவர்கள் வெவ்வேறு நிறங்களில் விருப்பம் கொண்டவர்களாகவும் சிறுவர் மையத்துக்கு தினந்தோறும் வருவதற்கு ஆர்வமுடையவர்களாக இருப்பதாகவும் அவர் உணர்கிறார்.
 
அந்த சிறுவர்களில் ஒருவரின் உறவினரான S.ராஜேஸ்வரி "புதிய சிறுவர் மையமானது பல மாற்றங்களைக் கொண்டுள்ளது.காற்றோட்டமானது. குழந்தைகள் விளையாடுவதற்கு இடவசதியும் உள்ளது. நீர் மற்றும் மின்சார வசதியும் உள்ளது" என்று குறிப்பிடுகிறார்.

இரண்டு வயதான தக்க்ஷிதாவின் தயாரான M.கௌரி "அங்கே சிறுவர்க்கான இரண்டு நவீன மலசல கூடக் கிண்ணக் கழிப்பறைகள் உள்ளது மகிழ்ச்சியைத் தருகிறது. எனது மகன் அங்கேஇயற்கை உபாதைகளைத் தீர்த்துக்கொள்ள விரும்புகிறார்"என்றார். அத்துடன் "வெளியேயுள்ள விளையாடும் பகுதி வேலியினால் அடைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.தக்ஷிதா பாதுகாப்பாக இருப்பார் என்பது மகிழ்ச்சியைத் தருவதோடு அவர் அருகேயுள்ள தேயிலைச் செடிப் பற்றைகளுக்குள் தொலைந்துவிட மாட்டார் என்பதில் மகிழ்ச்சி" என்று மேலும் தெரிவித்தார்.
 
சிறுகுழந்தைகள் அறையானது பாலூட்டுவதற்குத் தனியான இடத்தைக் கொண்டுள்ளதுடன், பால் மா கொடுப்பதை விட தாய்ப்பால் கொடுப்பதே சிறப்பானது என்பதை பிரசாரப்படுத்தும் இரு பெரிய சுவரொட்டிகள் தமிழிலும் சிங்களத்திலும் காணப்படுகின்றன.
 
கமலா 2010இல் தன்னுடைய சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி டிப்ளோமாவைப் பெற்றதுடன் இன்னொரு புதிய கற்கை நெறியை இவ்வருடம் தொடரவுள்ளார்.
 உதவி சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி அலுவலராகவுள்ள யமுனா பெருந்தோட்ட மனிதவள அபிவிருத்தி அறக்கட்டளை (PHDT) யால் நடத்தப்படும் சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி டிப்ளோமா நெறியைத் தொடர்கிறார்.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වතුකරය සඳහා වඩා හොඳ මුල් ළමාවිය රැකවරණ ක්‍ර‍මයක් හා අධ්‍යාපනයක් ඇති කිරීම

Shalika Subasinghe's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
තේ, රබර් හා පොල්වලින් සමන්විත ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වතු අංශය, රජය, ප්‍රාදේශීය වැවිලි සමාගම්, තනි පුද්ගලයින් හෝ පවුල් විසින් පාලනය කරනු ලබන හෝ හිමිකාරිත්වය දරනු ලබන්නකි.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ජනගහනයෙන් 4% ක් පමණ වතුකරයේ ජීවත් වෙති. පසුගිය දශකය තුළ ශ්‍රී ලංකාව පුරා දරිද්‍රතා අනුපාතයන් සැලකිය යුතු ලෙස ධනාත්මකව නැගෙද්දී, වතුකරයේ ජීවත්වන ජනතාව තවමත් රටේ ඉහළම දරිද්‍ර‍තාවයෙන් පෙළෙන ජනතාව අතර සිටිති.

හැටන්හි, මවුන්ට් වර්නන් වතුයායේ මැදි කලාපය තුළ මහා මාර්ගයට සමීපයෙන් ඇති පැරණි ළමා සංවර්ධන මධ්‍යස්ථානය (CDC) දරුවන්ට ඇවිද යන්නට හෝ අවකාශ රහිත, ඉතා සීමිත ඉඩකඩක පිහිටා තිබිණ.

මෑතක් වන තුරුම මෙහි පහසුකම් අලුත්වැඩියාවට ලක්ව තිබුණේ නැත.
 
මවුන්ට් වර්නන් වතුයායේ මැදි කලාපයේ ශිෂ්‍යයින්ගේ බ්‍ර‍යිට් පෙර පාසල් දරුවන් විවෘත කිරීමේ දිනයේ දී සෑම කෙනෙකුම සාදරයෙන් පිළිගැනීමට සූදානමින් සිටිති. ඡායාරූපය : ශාලිකා සුබසිංහ

ඒ, ලෝක බැංකුවේ මූල්‍ය අනුග්‍ර‍හයෙන් වන ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මුල් ළමා විය සංවර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘතිය යටතේ ඉඩ පහසුකම් සහිත, නව ළමා සංවර්ධන  මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් (CDC) ඉදිවන තුරු ය.
ඉදිකිරීම් කටයුතු අවසන් කර 2017 ඔක්තෝබර් මාසයේදී එය ප්‍ර‍ජාව වෙත පිළිගන්වන ලදී.

දැන්, සෑම දිනකම දරුවන් 20 කට ආසන්න පිරිසක් ළමා සංවර්ධන මධ්‍යස්ථානය වෙත පැමිණෙති.

දරුවන්ට අලුත්ම පුටු, මේස හා සෙල්ලම් බඩු සහිත නවතම මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් හිමි වීම පිළිබඳ ළමා සංවර්ධන නිලධාරිනී කමලා දර්ශනි සතුටු වන්නී ය. විවිධ වර්ණවලට ඇලුම් කරන දරුවන් සෑම දිනකම මධ්‍යස්ථානයට පැමිණීමට උනන්දු වන බව ඇයට පෙනී ගොස් ඇත.

එක් දරුවකුගේ නැන්දණිය වන එස්. රාජේශ්වරී පවසන්නේ "නව මධ්‍යස්ථානය බොහෝ වෙනස්කම් සහිතයි. එය වාතාශ්‍ර‍ය සහිතයි වගේම ළමයින්ට සෙල්ලම් කරන්නට වැඩි ඉඩකුත් තිබෙනවා. විදුලි සහ ජල පහසුකමුත් තිබෙනවා. " යනුවෙනි.

දෙහැවිරිදි දරුවකු වූ දක්ෂිතගේ මව වන එම්. ගෞරී පවසන්නේ "කුඩා, ජලයෙන් පිරිසිදු වන, ජල මුද්‍ර‍ත වැසිකිළි දෙකක් මෙහි තිබීම අගනා දෙයක්. මගේ පුතා මෙහේ වැසිකිළිය පාවිච්චි කරන්න කැමතියි. ඒත් එක්කම පිටත සෙල්ලම් පිට්ටනියට වැටක් යොදලයි තියෙන්නේ. දැන් දක්ෂිත ආරක්ෂා සහිතව ඉන්න බවත් එයා පිටත තේ පඳුරු තියෙන පැත්තට නොයන බවත් මම දන්නවා.“ යනුවෙනි.

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