Women role in every sphere to be raised: Prime Minister
ISLAMABAD, April 23 2006: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the government is trying to increase the representation of women in every sphere of life to leverage their true potential so as to enable them to play their effective roles in the socio-economic development. The Prime Minister was talking to a delegation of women activists from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who are attending a conference in Pakistan, organised by the Ministry of Women Development. PM’s Adviser on Women Development Nilofar Bakhtiar was also present on the occasion.
He said that previously women in Pakistan were under represented in political and social spheres. The restoration of reserved seats for women in the Parliament and the policy of reserved seats for women in local bodies have gone a long way in enhancing their representation at the policy and decision-making levels. Shaukat Aziz said that women are facing a number of challenges, as they are under-represented at the decision-making levels. Therefore, the government is focusing on the economic empowerment of women to ensure respect and dignity for them in the society, he added.
He said that women participation has been substantially enhanced in every walk of life, adding now Pakistan has women pilots in Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the government is planning to induct them in Army as well. The First Women Bank is helping the women entrepreneurs, and Micro-Finance Bank is also largely lending to women, the Prime Minister said. He said the government is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and that will not be possible without the full contribution of women to the development process.
Shaukat Aziz said that women face a number of challenges, which stem from taboos, illiteracy, feudal culture and economic issues, adding the government is trying to bring an attitudinal change in the society towards women and trying to change the mindset of women through awareness campaigns. The UN reforms process also came under discussion. The members of the delegation said that UN reforms process should also take into consideration the issues of gender equality and how to tackle the women issues in an affective manner.
The meeting was attended among others by Bandana Rana, Women’s Commission of Nepal, Professor Pam Rajput, VP and Focal Point NAWO, India, Chandra Bhadra, Associate Professor Padma Kanya College Tribhuvan University, Nepal, Dr Savitri Gunasekhare, distinguished Professor of Law and International Gender Expert, Sri Lanka, Hameeda Hossain, Founder Member, Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh, Secretary, Women Development, Nigar Ahmed Aurat Foundation, Pakistan, Maria Rashid, Rozan, Pakistan and Khalida Salimi, Pakistan.
Source: B. Recorder