March 2, 2011

Pakistani human rights advocate to speak March 10

Humaira Shahid

Humaira Shahid

Investing in Women in Pakistan & the Muslim World is the title of a talk to be given by Humaira Shahid at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in 110 Kane. Shahid, who is a member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, a human rights activist and a journalist,will address  the empowerment of women in Pakistan and the relationship between gender and Islam.

Shahid is the first parliamentarian of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab to pass a law (and repeal a former one) as a private member. Her legislation, the Punjab Private Money Lending Act, prohibited interest-based private money lending in Punjab, Pakistan, and her law was replicated and adopted by the Provincial Assembly of the North-West Frontier Province. She also passed two ground-breaking resolutions against Acid Crimes and forced marriages (Vani), which were incorporated in the Federal law of Criminal Amendments Act, 2005.

Shahid has campaigned and advocated on many important issues such as honor killings, forced marriages, rape, dowry, street and child prostitution, police reforms, microfinance, and womens empowerment. As a 2009-10 Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Shahid explored the subject of violence against women in the socio-cultural context of the Muslim world, particularly Pakistan. Shahid researches the evolution of womens roles in policy and legislative reforms that counter violence against women and she is continuing to work on legislative measures that may help curb gender violence.

As an editor of English daily newspaper, Ms. Shahid has a diverse understanding of media and news management in Pakistan and pulse of the public. Shahid has been involved in public speaking and journalistic writing for creating awareness about issues that affect women in the developing world to spur motivation and influence.

Shahid is also the lead advocate representing a coalition of 200 women organizations world wide for reintroducing the International Violence against Women Act in the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate. She also testified for the act in the Tom Lantos Democratic Commission to bring forward the perspective of the developing world.

The talk is sponsored by the World Affairs Council. There will be a networking reception afterward. Tickets for the talk are $10 for council members, $15 for others; the reception is $20 for students and council members, $30 for others. Registration is required. There will be 50 free student seats. Email clairevw@uw.edu.