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Upping diversity pledges, govt vows conducive environment for women

ISLAMABAD: As people all over the world celebrated International Women’s Day with a spirit of solidarity and fortitude, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari Tuesday said the government has taken various measures to create a conducive environment for women.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the National Gender Policy Framework at the Ministry of Planning and Development, Mazari said her ministry only speaks of women’s rights.

The policy, launched by the Planning Division, is aimed at providing a structured mechanism with defined objectives for improving the lives of women and providing them with equal opportunities to excel in a professional sphere, according to a government handout.

The framework has been put in place in pursuance of a strong commitment to ensuring equal rights for women across the country, the press statement said.

Mazari said the legislation has been enacted for the rights and protection of women and children across the country. She said the government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its people.

The minister said that the government has taken steps to address the issues facing women.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said the framework was essential to provide equal opportunities to all segments of society, particularly women, to prosper and progress.

“This framework converts that honest intent into an integrated actionable programme.”

He said Pakistan also faced a challenge on the education front. “Enrollment of girls in schools is very low as compared to boys and the dropout rate is increasing with each passing day,” he added.

Umar said his ministry was also working on a governance mechanism to address shortcomings in the system. He pointed out that the criteria for performance appraisals in organisations were designed in a way that did not take into consideration areas where women could perform better.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Fehmida Mirza; Mazari; Lieutenant General Nigar Johar, who is the first-ever female general to be appointed the colonel commandant of Army Medical Corps; and several other dignitaries also attended the ceremony.

SHARED PROSPERITY

Meanwhile, First Lady Samina Arif Alvi said an empowered and strong woman could effectively contribute to the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

Speaking at an event in connection with International Women’s Day held at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI), she emphasised the need for ensuring the inclusion of women in the national mainstream.

Alvi expressed satisfaction over the progress on the emancipation of women in Pakistan at all levels, including the representation of women in the parliament.

She said women in Pakistan were progressing in all fields on the basis of their talent and determination.

She mentioned that Islam and the Constitution promoted the rights of women and encouraged their positive participation in the activities of the society.

However, Alvi stressed awareness among women about their rights, adding that educated women, parliamentarians, and entrepreneurs could play a role in guiding the womenfolk in this regard.

She said the president and prime minister were committed to the empowerment of women and particularly focused on ensuring their inheritance rights.

She also emphasised protecting the rights of disabled persons by facilitating them through the provision of necessary infrastructure at public places.

The first lady further said through the welfare of women and disabled persons, Pakistan could earn a positive image in the comity of nations.

ICCI President Shakil Mallik said women had a significant role in the economic development of the country.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Joint Director Shireen Baloch gave a presentation about the measures taken to ensure the financial inclusion of women and eliminate gender discrimination.

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