Seminar on Gender & Corruption: Women Empowerment for the Fight against Corruption

Seminar on Gender & Corruption: Women Empowerment for the Fight against Corruption
Venue: Chinna Arla, District Qasoor, Punjab
Date: February 23, 2022


Transparency International Pakistan in collaboration with Social Development Initiative (SDI) organized a seminar in Chinna Arla, District Qasoor, Punjab on Gender & Corruption: Women Empowerment for the Fight against Corruption. The session was attended by 36 females. The objective of the session was to educate these females how various forms of corruption and corrupt practices usurp women rights and hinder women empowerment despite many women supported laws.

The seminar started at 11.30 AM. Mian Shahid Nadeem, Chief Executive Social Development Initiative gave her opening remarks and told the participants that the session would cover Gender Discrimination and Property Rights of Women, Issues relating to getting CNICs, and Education Problems of Rural Women. He further said that not only the session would highlight these issues/problems but also provide them with some solutions.

The first speaker Ms. Humera Razzak who is a social worker and educationist urged the women to know their property rights given by Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan. She said that usually rural women do not get their shares from the property of their parents. Mostly their brothers take the whole property, and women due to their lack of awareness and understanding remain silent. She shared her own case study about the difficulties she faced in getting a due share of her property from her relatives which happened only when she raised her voice. Another participant, Ms Kalsoom, shared a similar story of two women whose property rights were usurped by their brothers. However, when these women spoke up and demanded for their rights, their brothers had to give it to them.

The second speaker Ms. Aiqa highlighted problems rural women face in getting education. Most of the colleges and universities are in cities, and due to the lack of transportation and proper infrastructure, a simple distance from 50 to 60 kilometers from a typical village is covered in 3 hours. Moreover, the prevalent culture of early marriages in rural areas does not let them to continue their education. She said she found online learning a solution to this problem in which girls can learn anything useful while remaining at their homes. These online courses can also provide them a decent earning while working online at platforms like, Amazon or YouTube. However, a fast broadband or 4G cellular services are also needed for a better connectivity. She also talked about various courses in Urdu and English available on YouTube and urged females to explore such educational platforms.

Another speaker Ms. Ayesha Rafique spoke about the importance of Computerised National Identification Card (CNIC) for women. She told that now every public service is digitally connected with CNICs. She said without CNIC, women cannot get their property rights, lodge FIRs, or even open a bank/easy paisa account. She said CNIC should remain in their safe custody and not be given to anyone.

Towards the end, Mr. Ashfaque Ahmed, Project Coordinator TI Pakistan thanked Social Development Initiative (SDI) and the participants. He highlighted that many research studies show that corruption affects women more than men, and sensitizing women about their rights is the first step. He said his organization is working women empowerment and have been organizing such events for many years. Women should raise their voices and concerns at every forum. They are equal citizens, and their work is no lesser than the work of a man. He gave examples of many Pakistani women who exhibit tremendous courage and leadership qualities. He suggested participants to make these women as their role models.

In the end, he thanked to everyone on behalf of Transparency International Pakistan.