Warsi calls for collective efforts for women empowerment
* UK minister says Islam gave the message of equality at a time when girls were buried alive
ISLAMABAD: British Conservative Party chairperson Baroness Sayeeda Warsi on Monday called for collective efforts in the United Kingdom and Pakistan to create more opportunities for the education and economic empowerment of women.
Speaking at a panel discussion on women leadership at the Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Rawalpindi, she said economic development could not be ensured until men and women were given equal opportunities.
Warsi said there was a need for more investment and stipends to women to encourage them to pursue education.
She said the UK trained 4,200 Pakistani teachers, provided 4.3 million textbooks and allocated substantial funds for social sector projects, including the establishment of five skill centres for women in Rawalpindi and Gujjar Khan.
Warsi referred to the lifelong struggle of Fatima Jinnah who fought against injustice and for women’s equality and recognised the first female prime minister of the Muslim world, Benazir Bhutto, and speaker of National Assembly, Fehmida Mirza, as sources of great pride and inspiration.
She quoted the holy Quran that stresses on the education of men and women and stressed that Hazrat Khadija (RA) was a businesswoman and Hazrat Ayesha (RA) was a scholar. “Islam gave the message of equality at a time when girls were buried alive,” she said.
She said women usually differed from men in their viewpoints, concerns and approach towards life and urged men and women to work together to strengthen the Pakistani economy.
She called for women in the UK and Pakistan to make a collective effort to improve lives.
Narrating her life story, she said she also faced difficulties when she started her career as a politician, but her father had encouraged participation of women in mainstream life.
Warsi also noted that women in Pakistan had excelled in diverse fields, which were previously dominated by men.
In her welcome address, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University VC Saeeda Asadullah said the university is a platform to economically empower women, adding that two women’s universities each were established in Peshawar and Quetta to encourage women’s education.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Sector Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Women Development Yasmeen Rehman, and chairperson of Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries Dr Shehla Javed were also present at the event.
Source: Daily Times