Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

Pakistan: Punjab Peasant Women Collectively Claim Equal Rights As Farmers

Published Date: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Shirkat Gah

As part of their WELDD project on Land and Economic Rights, Shirkat Gah, in collaboration with the Anjuman-e-Mazarin Punjab, organized a two-day convention on the rights of peasant women in Okara, Punjab. For the first time in Pakistan, over 500 peasant women representatives in the presence of 500 other peasant women came together to endorse their Charter of Demands.  The Charter calls for recognition of women’s work as farmers and demands equal land and labor rights for women, as well as demanding women’s representation in consultations regarding agricultural policy and in political institutions from the local to national level.  The convention was a show of strength in numbers for peasant women, and a huge step in drawing attention to their desire to be recognized as agricultural workers on the same terms as their male counterparts. 


Charter of Demands:

  • The definition of “farmer” and “peasant” should be amended. Peasant women should also be accepted as farmers.
  • The parliament should ensure land reforms and allot 50% of land to women in order to empower peasant women and improve their economic and financial conditions.
  • Farm labors, particularly peasant women, should be brought under the Labor Laws, so they may also avail labor rights such as daily wages, work timings, and social security.
  • The government should make policies for peasant women for allotment of easy loans to buy seeds and pesticides so as to improve their income and improve their life.
  • The representation of peasant women and men should be ensured in agricultural policy committees.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides should be made available at subsidized rates.
  • Immediate action should be taken in 10 districts of Punjab, including Okara military farms and Khanewal, to protect the rights of mazaa’rin who have been struggling for generations under the banner of Anjuman-i-Mazaa’rin.
  • Representation of peasant women should be ensured in local bodies, provincial and national assemblies.


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