Women’s emancipation linked with their economic empowerment: President
Equal health, education and economic opportunities vital for women empowerment, Speaker NA
ISLAMABAD, President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday terming economic empowerment a major contributory factor in women’s emancipation said huge responsibility lay on the society to help women thrive in their fields by ensuring them a safe environment.
Addressing here at an event in connection with International Women’s Day, the president said both Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan provided equal rights to women and allowed their participation in professional and social domains.
Begum Samina Alvi also attended the event themed ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, which was jointly organized by United Nations Women, UN Population Fund, European Union, UKAid and the government of Canada.
President Alvi said with the example of Hazrat Khadija, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) as a businesswoman, there was no bar on the women including in Pakistan to indulge in entrepreneurship.
He called upon women entrepreneurs in the country to benefit from the modern information technology and explore the global markets.
He, however, stressed the need for ensuring freedom to women at public spaces so as to help them perform their duties comfortably and without any stress of social pressures.
The president expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the government for emancipation of women including programmes for financial and digital empowerment, amendments in property rights law and strong legislative framework regarding the incidents of rape and acid crimes.
He mentioned that banks at present were offering loans especially to women to help them become financially self-reliant.
To control the cases of harassment and exploitation, he said instant verdict by the courts was crucial to avert nonappearance and reluctance of witnesses, which ultimately benefited the culprit.
President Alvi said Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a great supporter of women’s rights and always favoured their inclusion in national mainstream being the representative of half of the population.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said Women’s Day was the time to celebrate womanhood, mark their progress and realize their challenges.
She said the women in Pakistan were progressing, may it fighter pilots or musicians, who made mark in their respective fields.
Dr Mazari stressed that society needed to give breathing space to women and also allow them to raise voice for themselves, whether through the platforms of Aurat March or Hijab March.
She mentioned that her ministry had broadened the scope of harassment law especially by defining the definition of workplace.
European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said it was significant for Pakistan to ensure equality of women in the society and stressed joint efforts of all stakeholders towards achieving the goal.
She emphasized importance of women’s representation in parliament and their inclusion in climate-related initiatives.
She said 85 percent of EU programmes were focusing on gender equality, particularly relating to economic empowerment and skill development of women.
President Alvi and Begum Samina also visited the stalls of handicraft set up on the occasion showcasing the craft of women entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, The event to celebrate SDG – 5 organized by SDG’s , Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that empowered women would bring socio economic prosperity in the country. He said that equal education, health and economic opportunities would bring women of the country at par with their men counterpart. He stated, “Today’s event is a milestone in the history of the National Assembly. Today, with our friends from industry, civil society, tech start-ups, UNICEF, CPA, British High Commission and so many others, we are launching a one year programme on SDG-5. He also highlighted that “This year’s international women’s day theme by UN-Women is “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”
Convenier SDG Secretariat MNA Riaz Fatyana said that, “We are gathered here today to celebrate and commemorate “International Women’s Day” and what could be a better way to celebrate than to provide a prestigious platform to the women of this country to showcase their talents, ideas, innovations and their potential for meaningful activism to achieve gender equality.”
On this occasion, Mr. Luis Gorjon, Social Policy Chief, UNICEF also remarked that their aim was to create a safe and secure country for women to live in. He said that there was need to to fill in the legislative gaps, specifically laws encircling women.” He affirmed UNICEF’s commitment to the Parliament.
The event was also attended by Visiting Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Honorable Ian Liddell-Granger from the United Kingdom, House of Commons and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr. Stephen Twigg, Former Minister for Education. They acknowledged all the pledges made by Partners and stated “If we make progress only on SDG 5, we make progress on all 16 goals.”
The SDGs Secretariat garnered the support of industry leaders, start-ups, social entrepreneurs, and activists to help bridge the digital and financial gender divide in order to work together, to plan innovations and to remove barriers for women in all spheres of life – in order to accelerate progress towards true and universal gender equality. Focusing on the globally trending hashtag #BreaktheBias, SDGs Secretariat has also incorporated “Artivism” into the exciting event encapsulating art, colours of the universe, faith and woman as a mother.
The event was successfully moderated and conducted by Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA and Chairperson, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians. The event was attended by MNA Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Nafeesa I. Khattak, Ms.Sana Jamali, Shaheen Naz Saifullah, Miss Aisha Ghaus Pasha. MNA Zille Huma, Naureen Farooq Ibrahim, Hon. Seemi Ezdi, Hon. Faisal Javed Khan.
On this occasion, Partners and Organisations working for SDG 5, gave out constructive pledges for all-year engagements with the SDGs Secretariat to empower women.
While concluding the event Mr.Fakhar Imam, Minister for National Food Security and Research acknowledged SDGs Secretariat for arranging a very successful event and thanked all the partners, particularly UNICEF for their contribution to make it successful.