In its annual gender parity report, Punjab’s Women Development Department reported an increase in incidents of violence against women in the province which included cases of assault, rape, murder, acid attacks, and the practice of Vani.
According to the report, only 5% accused were sentenced in cases of violence against women while 95% were acquitted. In the years 2020 and 2021, the number of divorce cases filed amounted to 13,916 and 18,203 respectively.
The provincial government’s initiative to register various issues and complaints by women through its 1043 helpline — available round the clock — was also mentioned in the report.
With the helpline’s support, women can seek help and complain against domestic violence, harassment, property disputes, and inheritance matters. Women can also seek free legal assistance using the helpline’s service.
The report stated that women mostly reported complaints of violence, while a 53% increase in the number of calls was registered by the helpline.
The report also touched upon the impact of the Women Safety App in Punjab which witnessed a 70% increase in installation, while its number of active users also saw a hike.
With respect to women’s share in property in urban and rural areas, the report stated that around 29.80% of homes are owned by men in urban districts while only 2.90% of women were home owners. In rural areas, 62.93% of the men owned property but women accounted for only 4.6%.
The report stated that the role of women was prominent with respect to literacy rates in the province which increased in Punjab from 2020 to 2021. The rate of literacy for women in rural areas increased by 84% and for men by 15%.
Touching upon the representation of women in politics, the report stated that there were 71 women members in the Punjab Assembly which houses 341 seats in total.
Among these women members, 10 have been elected on general seats while 60 possess special representation in the House and one seat is claimed by a woman minority member.
Only 21% of the departments, as per the report, hired women on a 15% quota in 2021. According to the Punjab Women Empowerment Package (PWEP), women’s representation in all government departments should be reflected through the 15% quota.
Approximately 86% of men and 14% of women are working in the provincial departments, as stated in Punjab’s gender parity report.
The government made it mandatory to ensure the presence of at least one woman in selection committees across all departments, as per the report; however, only 60% of departments followed the policy.