UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, is about to start her first official visit to Pakistan, from 5 to 7 December, as part of her travels during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The visit will aim to bolster the gender equality agenda in a country where violent extremism, honour killing, rape, child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence has posed persistent obstacles for sustainable development and the empowerment of women and girls.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s first stop will be an event to mark the 16 Days campaign in the district capital, Mithi, one of Pakistan’s most impoverished districts. During a dialogue with over 300 residents, community leaders, government officials, civil society representatives and members of the local press, the Executive Director will call upon the entire community to end child marriages and voice their commitment to improve the lives of girls and young women.
An interactive session on preventing and addressing sexual harassment will also take place with students of the Habib University, a top-ranked university in Karachi. The dialogue will build on this year’s UN theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days Campaign: “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”, aiming to amplify the voices of survivors and activists around the world.
A Women’s Protection Unit for victims of violence and sexual abuse in Karachi, supported by UN Women, will also be launched in the context of the visit. The Protection Unit will offer female victims access to expert advice, support and counselling, as well as practical help to navigate the criminal justice system. This will be first of five new Women Protection Units to open in Pakistan under the project “Prevention and Protection of Women from Violence Through Access to Justice, Services and Safe Spaces”.
During her stay, the Executive Director will also discuss full, equal and effective participation and leadership of women at all levels of decision-making with the Women Parliamentary Caucus in Islamabad; and will participate in a roundtable on gender parity in the private sector with CEOs from the largest corporations of Pakistan.