Srinagar- ActionAid Association (AA) Kashmir held a daylong consultation meeting on Women and Work here at Solar Residency, Rajbagh.
The consultation meeting aimed to create awareness about the revised labour laws and build consensus among stakeholders about women workers’ access to decent work with a special focus on building understanding on their economic rights and entitlements.
Assistant Labour Commissioner, Sheikh Murtaza who was the chief guest on the occasion shared his presentation on the revised labour codes and made the audience aware about various services provided by the department of labour. He discussed about several schemes and policies available for formal workers and construction workers while expressing his willingness to collaborate with ActionAid.
“ To build awareness about the recent changes in the labour laws, the merger of labour laws into four labour codes and for reaching out to communities for information on schemes and policies our department would like to do awareness programs with AA in different parts of Kashmir,” Murtaza added.
Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner, Ather Aamir Khan who was the special guest on the occasion appreciated the effort of AA to raise the issues of women and work in the consultation and assured his support in providing gender responsive public services to women working in market places and other informal settings in Srinagar.
“We promise our due support in providing gender responsive public services to the communities where ActionAid is intervening and would look forward to a list of recommendation from today’s consultation where our intervention is required”, Khan while addressing the audience in the consultation said.
The meeting was held as part of AA’s weeklong campaign which kick-started on International Women’s day on March 8 and will continue till March 14.
RTI Activist Dr Raja Muzaffar raised the concern of wages in light of Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1976 and stressed the need of mobilizing in order to address the wage rate issues of workers in formal and informal sectors. “The bare minimum which needs to be done is that the Minimum Wages Act should be implemented in letter and spirit.”
Program Head, Centre for Law & Development Policy, Shafat N Ahmad who was the keynote speaker did the context setting of the consultation. He briefed about the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 and spoke about the rights of women workers in the light of SDGs. “Practices that adversely affect the participation of women in different formal areas and regulated informal sectors need to be ended and it is not possible to attain any development unless women in the society aren’t uplifted”, he briefed.
Bench officer at J&K High Court Subaya Yasmeen talked about the laws related to sexual harassment prevention and protection for women and how to bring the laws in force in formal and informal workplaces.
Director Koshish, Dr Rouf Mohuidin Malik while speaking about the women representation raised the issue of women reservations in different sectors. He also raised the issue of health crisis due to Covid-19 affecting women’s access to health services.
Informal women workers and the women beneficiaries who are also a part of ActionAid’s women collective, Young Urban Women (YUW) shared about their everyday challenges in their work places and suggested the areas of intervention for government institutions.
ActionAid Kashmir team while raising the issues of their communities and YUW formulated a list of recommendations in the consultation which will be submitted to higher officials for policy intervention.
District Program Manager, NRLM Dr Shreen Shafi, Program Facilitator, Mool Sustainability Training & Research Centre, Dr Shaheena Parveen, Chairperson, Humanity Welfare Voluntary Organization, Mr Feroz, Project Manager Madri Meherban Welfare Institute (MMWI), Abdul Rehmaan, Employee Health Deaprtment, Tabinda Wani among others participated and shared their views in the consultation meeting.
Project Officer, ActionAid Association Kashmir, Sheikh Nadiya Habib presented the vote of thanks.
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