Constraints to women’s workforce participation: a look into society and public policy

Venue: Conference Hall, CDPR

Date: 6th April 2018, Friday

Time: 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm

Consortium for Development Policy Research (CDPR) hosted its twenty-third Lahore Policy Exchange talk on “Constraints to women’s workforce participation: a look into society and public policy.” Pervasive discrimination and regressive social norms prevent gender parity in most forms of economic activity. Urgent policy action is required to ensure gender-based fairness in labor laws and their implementation, reduce inequities in wages, and remove obstacles preventing women’s integration into the labor market. Concurrently, efforts on this front must also address the issue of patriarchal mindsets and norms, which lead to harassment and discrimination at workplaces, and discourages women from working. Through increased participation in the workforce, women can be mobilized towards achieving Pakistan’s national objective of sustained economic growth and development. However, key issues impeding women’s labor force participation need to be addressed at policy and societal levels To highlight these issues, the following speakers were invited: 1) Ms. Nida Usman (Lawyer, Founder of LEARN and Women in Law magazine) discussed her personal experience and explained legislative loopholes working against women employees and solutions to making the workplace conducive for female lawyers 2) Dr. Kate Vyborny (post-doctoral fellow, Duke University) discussed her research on improving women’s mobility for facilitating women’s participation in the labour force 3) Ms. Fatima Khalid (Strategic Reforms Unit) discussed current and future initiatives of SRU (part of Punjab government) for providing women equality in society – in particular, explained the Women on Wheels initiative Dr. Faisal Bari (Fellow, CDPR and Director, IDEAS) moderated the session.