Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill that significantly strengthens protections for women in the workplace against violence and harassment. The new law, drafted by the Ministry of Human Rights with extensive input from women rights groups and lawyers, amends the far weaker 2010 law.
The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2022, enacted January 14, expands the definition of workplaces to encompass both formal and informal workplaces, bringing it closer to the definition set out in the 2019 International Labour Organization (ILO) Violence and Harassment Convention (C190), which Pakistan has not ratified. The new legislation specifically includes domestic workers, who are often isolated and marginalized, and as a result can be at greater risk of workplace violence and harassment.
The new law includes an expanded definition of harassment that includes “discrimination on the basis of gender, which may or may not be sexual in nature.” The law extends protections against harassment and violence to students, a category excluded by the previous law. It also streamlines the complaints process and includes specific protections to prevent retaliation. Continue Reading