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Call to boost business skills among women

KARACHI: Highlighting the importance of female entrepreneurship, speakers at a conference on Thursday called for an unbiased action plan to enrich entrepreneurial skills in women of the country.

They said gender-based barriers, including discriminatory laws and cultural practices, difficulties in access to financial support, limited mobility and unequal sharing of family and household responsibilities should be addressed to promote women entrepreneurship.

The Employers’ Federation of Pakistan organised the conference in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Islamabad, in connection with International Women’s Day, which was observed across the globe on March 8.

A faculty member of the Karachi University public administration department, Ghazal Khawaja Humayun Akhtar, said that it was unfortunate that successive governments in the country failed to show a clear vision and formulate a solid policy for the development of human capital.

“About 50 per cent of our population comprising women have proved to be the most suppressed segment of our society,” she said.

She stressed the need to activate young girls and women and make them play their role in economic growth of the country as entrepreneurs and discover profitable opportunities and manage productive ventures.

A programme officer with the ILO Islamabad, Rabia Razzaque, said that the World Bank’s World Development Report 2011 suggested that productivity could be increased by as much as 25 per cent in some countries if discriminatory barriers against women were removed.

KU dean of education faculty Prof Dr Shahida Sajjad referred to some studies and said that 70 per cent of 1.3 billion people who lived in absolute poverty around the globe were women.

“Women, who work about two-thirds of the world’s working hours, earn only 10 per cent of the world income and own less than one per cent of the world property,” she said.

Source: Dawn