Kashmiri women seek inclusivity, equity and justice:

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Altaf Hamid Rao,.

MIRPUR (AJK),  (Parliament Times): “Women have to get hold of the wheel of their life; think about the top priorities, growth areas, and the obstacles in achieving their aims.

Only then, women will be able to recognize their true potential and make their voice heard in the society”, said Nighat Khan, the head of New Vision for Women based in London while talking to a group of women from diverse backgrounds gathered on the same floor to share their life experiences, perceptions, opinions, achievements, struggles, and passions at a capacity~building workshop hosted in Rawalakot Azad Jammu Kashmir on Sunday.

Our Special AJK Correspondent Altaf Hamid RAO reports from Mirpur that besides, they also discussed the steps and strategies that need to be implemented to overcome the challenges they face because the existing status quo does not meet their need for gender equality.

According to the March 2022 data, women have only three quarters of the legal rights guaranteed to men globally, she lamented.

Nighat Khan highlighted the emerging global opportunities for women and suggested upscaling their skills, and lobbying for their participation in political and peace processes within communities. She suggested women to create learning opportunities and support each other so that their voice in society heard and valued. “Only a woman can understand the pain of a woman and only she can bring a change in another woman’s life”, she said.

A participant shared her view that the lack of representation of women in decision-making processes is not because women are not qualified or skilled but rather an absence of willingness for inclusion. She said that the Kashmir conflict, deteriorating human rights conditions in Indian-held Kashmir and worsening India-Pakistan relations are tearing down the region.

The women, considered the marginalized section in the male-dominated society, can now claim their role as they are trying their best to create a sanctioned space for themselves where they can show the best of their capabilities.

The Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), a research and training civil society organization, brought together women from different backgrounds and different experiences to reflect on various aspects of women’s lives, the challenges they face, and ways and means to improve their participation in the decision-making, conflict resolution and mediation processes locally and regionally.

Fatima Khan was of the view that woman carries equal human rights and no authority can deny those rights. Additionally, she raised the concern that there are no institutions in Azad Jammu Kashmir that focus on the capacity building of women, their role in the decision-making and peace process as mediators.

According to Eman Hassan, women grow up in a society where their presence is undermined and the established narratives, unconsciously, control their lives. Hence, the role of women, predetermined by men, is the real challenge they face in today’s world.

Kashmiri women are capable of doing marvels only if they are given better learning and growth opportunities. Despite having limited career opportunities in Azad Kashmir, they still utilize the best of their talents to make a difference in the world around them, says Shabana Kiyani.

Hooria Khan said, “If we do not educate our women today, the society as a whole will be blamed for a rotten, ignorant, and stubborn generation because an educated woman raises an educated child. If we want to see a better society, we need to invest in women’s education, capacity building and creating gainful employment for them”.

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