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Wonder women of Pakistan

“Economic Empowerment Of Women” a small phrase have different meanings and understanding to different people depending on their experiences, circumstances, hopes, and dreams. It may means, An opportunity of make my dream come true; or Gaining wealth of knowledge; or Success, productive, employable, promotion, critical thinker, prosper, educated, experience; or It means giving employees skills, resources, and opportunities as well as making them responsible and accountable for what they’re doing.

The existence of a beautiful world cannot be imagined without considering women rights and empowerments. Women’s economic empowerment refers to the ability for women to enjoy their right to control and benefit from the resources, assets, income and their own time, as well as the ability to manage risk and improve their economic status and well being and Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home but they also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation, their limited access to credit, health care and education are among many challenges faced, which are further aggravated by food and economic crises, and climate change. Empowering them is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and communities, but also to overall economic productivity and it is the only way by which women not only benefit themselves but their families and communities, build better livelihoods, earn more income, and create businesses that provide jobs and boost local economies with improved financial security, healthcare and education in particular.

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Islam is the religion have very distinguishing feature in this regard. Islamic society is the notion of free intermixing of the two genders which is simply aliened so; women cannot adopt the occupation in which they would have to work in close proximity with men. Chastity and modesty are important values which gives dignity and security to women. Hoy Quran, it is found that many Surah such as the Surah An-Nisa, Al-Mayeda etc cover a wide range of women rights. Women empowerment in Islam is wide and quite comprehensive and considers that men and women are morally equals in God’s view and have to fulfill the equivalent duties of adoration. When we talk about women economic empowerment in Pakistan than we must remember the quote of our founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that, “No national can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.” In spite of all the other facts to me women empowerment means, “Empowering women through education“.

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Education a main concern

Educated women are a guarantee that leads the country to the path of economic development and if we empower women, they would empower our economy, when our economy is empowered then overall country and nation would be developed. Therefore, instead of considering them as showpiece, we must invest in them to challenge the world. Education develops skills, knowledge and confidence in women that can help them in achieving opportunities in economy. Though various Pakistani educational institutions are assisting through fee concession, needy scholarship, vocational training programs that can help in providing better skills and good jobs to women.

There is a need to understand the fact that the active participation of women in social, economic and political settings would no doubt pace us, where actually we would like to move on socio-economic development. Women constitute half of the Pakistan’s 207 million population [2017 population census] and women’s contribution has been remarkable in every facet of life, however, their vitality and potential has never been fully realized in the past 70 years after independence. To build open doors for women in economy, they should have an entrance to better occupations, a business domain, access to financial sector and job security within the values of our religion and society.

 

Women play a crucial role serving Pakistan with passion and commitment by their numerous contributions as many as engineers, doctors, journalists, pilots, professors, armed person, social workers and the leading member working side by side with the men at farms and nurture the upcoming generations but they still require a greater amount of opportunity with assume a more astounding part in the socioeconomic growth of the nation. Female employment rate in Pakistan is the lowest in the world (4.3 percent). Pakistan’s women labor force rate is 22.6 % (international labor organization) which is quite glooming figure. In economic participation, Pakistani women ranked 126 out of 128 in the world, 123 out of 128 in educational attainments, 121 out of 128 in health and 43 out of 128 in political empowerment. Female employment rate in Pakistan is the lowest in the world (4.3 percent). Pakistan’s women labor force rate is 22.6 % (international labor organization) which is quite glooming figure. In economic participation, Pakistani women ranked 126 out of 128 in the world, 123 out of 128 in educational attainments, 121 out of 128 in health and 43 out of 128 in political empowerment so still need lots to do. Nearly 65% of female doctors do not work after marriage. 80% of business graduates sit at home after marriage and less than 10 percent of educated and uneducated women are entrepreneurs. However, mostly Pakistani women’s occupations are normally constrained to teaching, designing, call centers etc.

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Regardless of this despairing statistics we have lots of Islamic and Pakistani inspirational women like, Madr-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah one of the founding leader of Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto who was the first Muslim women Prime Minister in the history or in the field of financial sector, for example Hazrat Khadija (Holy Prophet’s wife) was a business woman and under the governance of Khalifa Umer (RA) women were used to participate in trading market of goods and services and he appointed Shaffa bint-e-Abdullah as supervisor of the market , Madar-e-millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah (active political figure), Dr. Shamshad Akhtar former Governor State Bank of Pakistan the first women to assume this position or in the field of technology, for example, Arfa Kareem who was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional or in the field of aviation, for example, Shukira Khanam first Pakistani women pilot or in the field of music, for example, Malka-e-Taranum Noor Jahan who had been awarded with the Pakistan’s most highest civilian awards such as Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and there are tremendous examples when the women of Pakistan have proved themselves whether national or international platforms and in Business.

Thus, we need to realize the fact that economically empowered women have more contribution to their families, societies and national economies. Women should be provided skills, resources and equal access to economic institutions. Women ought to have the ability to settle on and follow up on financial choices. Economic empowerment helps women in providing access to resources and opportunities in the economy. Education is a resource that women can get easily as compared to other resources which will lead to economic development in the society.

The writer of this article is Ms Urooj Aijaz — Faculty Dept H&SS, Bahria University Karachi

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