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Bill on protection of women against workplace harassment hailed as ‘revolutionary act’

Activists, lawyers and feminists laud passage of legislation, term step as historic for working women

The recently passed Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Act, 2022 has been hailed as a “revolutionary step” as the legislation seeks to broaden and reinforce the domain of the weaker 2010 law.

Formulated by the Federal Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR), several women’s rights groups and lawyers were consulted during the drafting phase. The amendments made in the document ensure and facilitate the participation of women in the workplace. It also removes the gaps in the existing law.

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Prominent women’s and digital rights activist Nighat Dad hailed the passage of the law, taking to social media to express her views. In a tweet, she thanked the Ministry of Human Rights for its efforts in drafting the legislation and getting it passed.

Popular singer and women’s rights activist Meesha Safi also took to Twitter to laud the Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and others involved in the process of drafting and enacting the legislation. Tagging them in her tweet, she thanked the contributors saying “You are all real life QUEENS!”.

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Lawyer Maimana Khattak, who was part of the drafting process, tweeted that she felt “honoured” to be part of the endeavor.

Another lawyer named Nida called the event a “seminal win for the #MeToo movement in Pakistan today”. She said she was happy to see that gender-based discrimination was now covered by the harassment law.

International journalist Farhat Javed Rabani called it a massive development for working women in the country. She called on the public to read the document to learn which protection law applied to them.

Digital journalist Laiba Zainab congratulated all the activists and lawyers involved in making the amendment. She praised the women who were victims and survivors of workplace harassment in her tweet.

The parliament enacted the law on January 14 with President Arif Alvi giving his assent on January 21, bringing the law fully into force.

The legislation broadens the definition of workplace harassment and covers informal workers along with those employed in formal positions. It also includes students as well as those who face harassment at universities, schools and colleges and are unable to report it effectively. Artists, performers and freelancers are also covered within the law.



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