Pakistan cannot achieve its full economic potential without the participation of its entire workforce. Women entrepreneurship and women empowerment plays significant role in the socio-economic development of all under developed countries like Pakistan. Women represent around 48 percent of Pakistan total population, while female employment participation is only 19-20 percent.
The observance of Women’s Day at the international level was aimed at highlighting the rights of the females and raise issues like poverty alleviation and provision of employment opportunities. The protection and ensuring the due rights of the women is the priority of every government. Women can play an important towards overcoming the lack of tolerance in the society.
Pakistan’s population is projected among the fast growing in the world with an estimate of over 180 million people and slightly less than half of its population consists of female. Women are the integral part of any society and have a significant role in socio-economic development.
Empowerment of women and their active participation in the economic activities is regarded as a high-priority step for the overall progress of a nation and sustainable growth. It is also part of the UN adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which Pakistan itself a signatory. Besides, government has also adopted a number of other key international commitments to gender equality and women’s rights, but Pakistan’s ranking for gender equality remains one of the lowest in the world.
GOOD EXAMPLE OF JAPAN
Pakistan may learn from Japan as how the government has started taking initiatives for full utilization of its women workforce. Towards this direction, Japanese government recently hosted the third “World Assembly for Women 2016” taking steps to achieve ‘A Society Where Women Shine’ as one of the priority agendas of Prime Minister Abe’s administration. Approximately 190 leaders and activists in women-related fields from 27 countries and 11 international organizations attended the event and discussed how women can be empowered to utilize their potential for socio-economic development.
In February 2015, Japan included the promotion of women’s participation to one of the principles of its Official Development Assistance and it has also been making efforts to promote women empowerment in developing countries including Pakistan through various projects such as promotion of the non-formal education, upgrade of primary girls’ schools, and support for vocational centers and colleges.
Pakistan needs to think seriously about promoting women empowerment in the country. Steps for women friendly society include harassment-free workplaces, proper educational institutions for girls, and effective legislation for women protection.
International Women’s Day was an opportunity to highlight the important role that women play all over the world, including in Australia and Pakistan. The world today sees women outshining in all sectors of societies contributing, as half of the population, to science and innovation, to economic development and national leadership, to exploring the universe as astronauts, to excellence in the arts and sport.
Globally it is noticed more and more women play their part for the good of their communities, their countries and for the world.
PRIDE OF PAKISTAN
Female economic participation is necessary for uplifting of life standard of household as women prefer spending huge part of their earning on the education, health and food of their children as compared to men.
Majority of country’s population lives in the rural areas where women are even more challenging situation due to absence of basic facilities and required infrastructure to help them in taking part in mainstream development. To promote women’s social participation, it is vital that the state takes strong initiative to lead the movement for creating women friendly environment in place of the customary patriarchal society.
Pakistan has some examples of women leaders in their fields who inspire not just their nation but the whole world; women who are wonderful ambassadors for Pakistan. From Malala Yousafzai, who fights for the education of girls everywhere, to the courageous mountain climber Samina Baig and UN Women Ambassador and artist Muniba Mazari, to film maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy who brought home two Oscars and six Emmy Awards, and the young Pakistani women who speak to international audiences on the theme of young women leading changeover in societies.
COMMITMENT WITH AUSTRALIA
Equality for women and girls is a basis foreign policy preference for Australia, and a cross cutting element of Australia’s global aid program, including in Pakistan.
Australia’s global aid program, including in Pakistan. Granting women and girls their human right of equality is vital for economic growth, poverty reduction, inclusive development and security, particularly in our region.
Pakistan is committed to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include a goal dedicated to gender equality. As a long term development partner to Pakistan, Australia is supporting the Pakistan Government, business and civil society in working towards this goal.
Education and training is vital for achieving equality of opportunity for all. The Australia Awards scholarship program is giving equal numbers of Pakistani men and women the professional skills required to advance their careers.
Graduates join a global network of Australian alumni to maintain linkages with their Australian networks, as well as their networks with fellow alumni from other countries in the region.
In Pakistan, the Australian Alumni Women in Leadership Network provides a platform for women alumni to promote education opportunities to other women and to support one another to fully realize their potential to contribute to society.
In 2017, coinciding with Pakistan’s 70th year, women remain the largest untapped reservoir of talent and economic productivity in the world. By investing in women and girls all countries, including Australia and Pakistan, can accelerate successful and peaceful social, economic and political development.
Australia will continue to support Pakistan in striving to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, by encouraging the involvement of women, as equals, in all sectors of society.
LEND A HAND
Poverty in developing countries predominantly remains a rural phenomenon and is disproportionately concentrated among women. Various socio-political barriers hamper a woman’s social mobility, negatively influencing development.
Women comprise half the populace but account for around 60-80 percent of the total agricultural labor, and are responsible for over three quarters of the staple food production in the least developed countries.
Women generate additional income for the family from production of local goods for the village market and through labour on nearby cash crop plantations. Woman’s role in the rural sector has only further extended as men have increasingly migrated to urban areas for better economic prospects.
Greater income converts to greater savings. Savings can be invested in the education of their children, increasing crop yields with investment in the latest technology or diversifying sources of income beyond that of subsistence farming.
Evidence also clearly states that a larger share of income provided by the wife tends to be used for children’s welfare then does that by husbands. Demographic trends are likely to remain the majority age group in the upcoming decades.
A World Bank study showed that most extension agents perceived women as “wives of farmers” rather than as farmers in their own right. Women, especially in the rural sector, face a multitude of political and cultural barriers limiting them from realizing their potential.