The focus on gender emerged in order to illustrate how women’s disadvantage deposition is not a result of any deficiencies in them, but is a result of socially determined relations. Gender is therefore able to change as opposed to being biologically pre-determined. As gender is socially and culturally constructed, its roles can be transformed by social changes induced by economic transformation, incentives and legal and regulatory reforms. In the past, gender issues were largely perceived as women’s issues. New development approaches emphasize changes in men’s and women’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding roles and responsibilities in the home, the work place and the national and international communities.
The pace of women’s development within the GB, though not insignificant, has remained slow, partly conditioned by a variety of social and cultural dynamics of this part of Pakistan that define women’s status and allow (or disallow) access to development opportunities. Although, in some communities’ women’s roles have extended to the point where they participate in community-level planning and implementation of development activities, some are taking up political roles in elected bodies, yet there are still many communities where women are largely confined. This invariably restricts their access to basic health, education, market and other public sector services.
Gilgit-Baltistan Rural Support Progamme (GBRSP) will encourage women’s voice and representation in their communities, villages and Union councils and increase their involvement in profitable economic activities. This is achieved through ensuring that women participate in Community Owned Local Institutions / Organizations and through small enterprises, and provision of vocational and leadership trainings.
GBRSP Gender team will follow its comprehensive devised gender strategy to address the gender concerns at organizational and at programme level. Awareness sessions will be organized for both internal teams, relevant stakeholders and at community level to raise awareness regarding gender and all its functions & terminologies.
GBRSP believes that there exists a close relationship between poverty and gender inequality. Poverty reduction and gender equality are mutually reinforcing mechanisms. Without poverty eradication one cannot get rid of gender inequality. Therefore, GBRSP has and will continue to work simultaneously on issues related to sustainable and inclusive human development along with addressing the issues of women’s empowerment and gender equality.
The Following are the activities carried out by the organization for Women Development.
Gender Awareness & Sensitization
Gilgit-Baltistan Rural Support Programme is amongst the few organizations in the region with a prime focus on gender emancipation. It advocates for the rights of marginalized and the poor. It believes that economic empowerment of women is a necessary step towards ensuring their basic rights’ provision. For this purpose, the organization has formulated a gender mainstreaming policy which is under implementation. As per the policy, GBRSP sponsored a few meaningful events with potential to aware and sensitization the community regarding gender equality.
The events sponsored by GBRSP in collaboration with other government departments and organizations are given under
i. International Women’s Day with Women Development Department Gilgit-Baltistan at Serena
Hotel Gilgit on 8th March 2021
ii. Pakistan’s Day with FCNA, Gilgit at Helipad Gilgit on 23rd March 2021
iii. Women and Decent Work with Prince Barkat Foundation in Nagar on 25th March, 2021
Technical & Vocational Skill Development
The biggest challenge for rural women is to engage themselves in off-farm income generating activities as they are unable to travel to other areas for work, they do have opportunities nor the facilities in their own area, and they do not have the necessary skills to take part in activities.
In order to overcome this issue, GBRSP held dialogues with the local community of Nagar and Gilgit districts, and unanimously agreed to support women of the area by investing in their skill enhancement and transfer of technology/necessary equipment so that they are able to generate additional household income that would mainly cater for their own needs.
As a result, GBRSP supported four Women Resource Centers in Nagar and one in Gilgit. Latest machinery and material were purchased from the market, selected by the community themselves, and installed at their respective centers.
These centers are not only producing and selling the products but are also training the local young girls in the same trade. It is expected that more than 750 households will directly benefit from these interventions.
Establishment of Vocational Centers
Twelve vocational centers have been established by the section employing/benefitting 240 women in total. Assets/technology has also been transferred to the centers. These vocational centers will be used as
a nursery of production of dexterous entrepreneur women contributing to their net household incomes.