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United Kingdom Pledge for Women and Girls in Pakistan

Islamabad: “UK to support Pakistan to empower and stop violence against women” UK aid’s Gender Expert Helen Appleton said at an event to mark 16 days of activism to end violence against women.

The UK will do all it can to support Pakistan to empower and stop violence against women, senior development advisor and gender expert for the UK’s Department for International Development Helen Appleton said today at an event in Islamabad organised by the Gender Justice and Protection project to mark 16 days of activism to end violence against women.

Pakistan is the third most dangerous country in the world for women, according to Thomson Reuters Foundation [1] , due to issues including honour killings, for ced marriages, and domestic violence.

Helen Appleton today said in Islamabad:

“Violence against women occurs more in unequal relationships. A lack of power is a predictor of violence and inequality.

“So the UK will do all it can to support Pakistan to empower women by strengthening legislation on land rights, marriage rights, and domestic violence; and get more girls and women involved in decision making at community and federal level so that they can demand their basic rights.

“The top priority for the UK over the next few years is to help Pakistan get two million more girls in to school; as well as reducing the number of women who die in childbirth; allow women to choose when and how many children they have; and empower women to access financial services such as micro-loans so they can earn more money and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

“As well as being morally right, this will help release a huge economic dividend, as Pakistan harnesses the talent, skills, and productivity of half of its population and leads to a happier, healthier, and more prosperous country.”

Gender Justice and Protection is a five year project run by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to help Pakistan reduce violence against women. The project has worked in local communities across Pakistan to provide women with support on and protection from honour killing, acid burning, domestic violence, and other abuses.

Over recent years, UK aid has helped Pakistan support women and girls by:

Providing 35,096 women victims of violence with counselling, refuge, rehabilitation support and legal aid;

Supporting implementation of legislation tackling domestic violence, honour killings, sexual harassment, acid burning, and unequal rights in marriage, property, and inheritance;

Preventing 340,000 children and 19,000 mothers dying since 2003;

Nearly halving the number of women dying in childbirth from 533 to 260 women per 100,000 births since 1999;

More than double the number of Lady Health Workers up to 100,000 since 2002;

Facilitate 1.2 million microfinance loans to poor women, helping them to lift their families out of poverty;

Provide monthly stipends to some 680,000 poor girls to help keep them in school, and provided millions of free school textbooks;

Provide nutrition for half a million malnourished young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women following the devastating floods in 2010.

Some of the things the UK will help Pakistan do for girls and women by 2015 include:

Violence against women

Support legislation to make domestic violence illegal;

Drive implementation of all legislation to protect women.

Democracy

Get two million more people (almost half women) to vote in the next General Election.

Women’s rights

Provide legal aid to 5,000 women in the least stable parts of Pakistan;

Increase women’s involvement in decision making at all levels, so that women’s voices are heard and their needs addressed.

Maternal health

Prevent 3,600 mothers dying in childbirth by 2015 by increasing skilled midwives, doctors, nurses, and Lady Health Visitors;

Save the lives of 110,000 children, including 44,000 newborns, by expanding basic health services at community level with a focus on family planning, nutrition, and healthcare for women and children;

Fund the training and deployment of 10,000 more Lady Health Workers and an additional 12,000 community mid-wives by 2015, as well as strengthening emergency delivery services throughout the country;

Help 400,000 couples to choose the number of children they have by providing family planning and contraceptives in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Education

Get more than two million additional girls in to school;

Supply more than six million text books sets, around half of them will go to girls;

Construct or rehabilitate more than 43,000 classrooms, half benefitting girls;

Construct new schools which 6,500 girls will go to in conflict affected Border areas; and another 3,874 girls in earthquake affected areas.

Finance

Help an additional 1.5 million poor people (60 per cent women) access microfinance loans by 2013;

Fund job and skills training for 125,000 people in the Punjab by 2015 and help 75,000 rural dairy farmers, predominantly women, increase their income by improving the quality and quantity of meat and milk they produce by 2015.

Investing in women and girls is transformational – for themselves, their family, and their community. Women invest nearly all the money they earn back in their family, educating and nourishing their children, and girls who go to school go on to have fewer and healthier children, and to earn more money.

Earlier this year, the UK’s Department for International Development published its new global strategy for women and girls, which can be viewed here: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/stories/features/2011/international-womens-day-2011/

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/15/us-women-danger-factbox-idUSTRE75E32A20110615

For more information, contact:
George Sherriff
Press Attaché
Sarah Cowley
Head of Press and Public Affairs
British High Commission
Islamabad
Tel: +9251 201 2000
Cell: +92300 500 5306
Website: http://ukinpakistan.fco.gov.uk

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