More than 130 female lawyers, members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and academia attended the conference, which was jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and KP Bar Council with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan.
During the conference, the attending lawyers called attention to specific issues and challenges faced by them, such as sustaining initial years in the legal profession with low income, weak capacity and training, unfavourable environment at workplace and resistance by family and society against women joining legal profession.
Women law professional reviewed the draft of Women Lawyers’ Charter and formed a committee to finalise the charter and apply for registering of Women Lawyers Forum with the KP Bar Council.
In partnership with UNDP, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been supporting the Government of Pakistan to establish an efficient and accessible security and justice system through its Rule of Law in KP Programme. The programme provides scholarships to female law students, connects female graduates to bar associations and strengthens the capacity of female lawyers.
Speaking at the conference, Programme Manager Rule of Law at UNDP Jakhongir Khaydarov highlighted key achievements of this initiative and UNDP’s support to the empowerment of women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Policy Advisor at SDC Hamid Raza Afridi in his message stated that his organization is committed to the cause of women empowerment in general and women lawyers in particular. “Strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights is key to finding lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity, as well as achieving targets set under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 i.e. promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies,” he said.
Chairman Free Legal Aid Committee at KP Bar Council Muhammad Sarir stated that the Council has been working closely with the Programme on access to justice for vulnerable communities and has recently established a Legal Aid Unit with the support of UNDP and SDC. He expressed his support for women joining the legal profession.
The attendees of the conference appreciated the efforts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, SDC, UNDP and KP Bar Council who are working together to solve the problems of women lawyers in the province.