Women are courageous and aware of their rights, according to Kanwal Liaqat

Beginning at dawn and ending late in the evening, cotton picking is backbreaking work, said participants in a provincial consultation on “cotton picker framing issues” was organized by Women in Struggle for Empowerment (WISE) on the eve of “International Rural Women’s Day” in Lahore.

Women from twelve districts participated in the consultation and shared the problems of rural women they face in society.

Kainat Malik, a farmer, explained that the hands of rural women were injured while picking cotton. Cotton pickers do not have goggles, dresses, shoes, etc. cotton pickers suffer from eye diseases when they pick poisoned cotton dusted by farmers in the form of pesticides. Women are harassed, she added. The girls do not go to school during this season and pick cotton. These girls buy the dowry with their salary. To overcome poverty, they pick cotton, now cotton cultivation has been replaced by sugar cane.

On this occasion, said Humair Jalil, a farmer, the women receive low wages. If they suffer from health problems, they are not allowed to rest in a male dominated society. Women pick cotton in scorching heat with bare hands and feet, women pick cotton from thorny buds and injure themselves.

An MPA from PML-N Kanwal Liaqat said women are courageous and well aware of their rights. They also contribute to the prosperity of their families and their country. She called on the government to do justice if women are denied a share of the inheritance. She encouraged women to participate in politics so that they can fight for their rights. We raise your voices in the Punjab Assembly.

Ayesha Iqbal MPA of PTI, in sixty days women would be given the rights of ownership of the inheritance. She added that farmers are given Kissan cards. Women would also receive Kissan cards. In addition, the government of Punjab provided health cards; these women can go for free treatment in the best hospitals.

Sadia Suhail Rana MPA of PTI, said: “No society could progress without the participation of women. We need to change our mindset towards women. She encouraged rural women and said you need to speak up for your rights. Our government empowers women, Sadia said. The government of Punjab made the loan process easier, Saida said. Domestic workers would be considered workers and they would benefit from the benefits that factory workers receive.

Badar Ul Nisa said most of the cotton pickers were infected with skin diseases and hepatitis. They can’t get proper treatment because they don’t have enough money.

Bushra Khaliq, Executive Director (WISE), said: “Women play their part in all walks of life. In the past, the government paid less attention to the issues of cotton pickers and rural women, but WISE stood by rural women against all forms of exploitation, ”said today’s woman is resilient and a speechless voice. She lamented that the hard work of women was not recognized. Women cultivate and harvest these crops but do not receive their due shares. She called on the government and society to end discriminatory attitudes towards women. Women farmers should receive tractors at the lowest prices and have easy access to markets, Bushra Khaliq concluded.

At the end, the participants called for land reforms to be introduced in the country. In addition, they demanded 33 percent of seats for women in local governments. They added that women be encouraged to participate in local government on the peasant reserve seats. The minimum wage must be increased and the work must be fixed at eight hours according to the law. The government must provide an environment free from harassment.

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