UN Women, PIA officials pose for a photograph after the signing ceremony.
UN Women, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Federal Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment (FOSPAH) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the collaboration, promoting the drive of safe mobility for women and pledging to prevent the harassment of women at public places.
"With nearly half of the workforce of Pakistan consisting of women, they often feel barred from fully contributing to the society and economic prosperity, due to perceived and real hazards faced during transportation. It is every woman and girl’s right that they are provided with the same opportunity to travel freely and without fear of being harassed," read an official statement.
It said that as part of PIA and United Nations initiative to make this vision a reality, and while working with the Federal Ombudsperson working for the cause of preventing harassment, an MOU was agreed upon between all parties whereby PIA and UN Women will create awareness and campaigns for a safe travel environment for all women, whether aircrew or PIA’s guests, at airports, offices and during the flight.
"This implies full implementation of Pakistan Penal Code 509 & Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010, even onboard."
UN Women, PIA officials during the signing ceremony.
This makes PIA, the statement said, the first airline in the world and the first corporate sector organisation in Pakistan to champion such an initiative under the UN banner, with a public pledge and an implementation plan to create safer travel and work environment for the women. This marks a milestone achievement for women’s rights in Pakistan as well, it added.
Recognising the importance of women’s and girls’ freedom of movement and right to harassment-free life, the country representative for UN Women, Sharmeela Rassool said: "We need to create safe spaces and give women access to safe mobility. When both halves of the population live with their potential, the economies and societies grow. Women are key drivers of economic growth. PIA has just set a trend for the whole world to follow."
PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik said: "We pledge as an organisation to create a safer transport environment for women, whether it is in the offices or during transportation.”
He said that this was a big opportunity for all other corporate organisations to come forward and contribute to national development.
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