KARACHI: To encourage women to work independently and to celebrate their hard work, University of Karachi (KU) Centre of Excellence for Women’s Studies paid tribute to all those women who work at home to earn their bread and butter.
More than 20 stalls were set-up in the parking ground of the women studies centre, where women from Landhi and Korangi sold various handmade items on Women’s Day. Naila Umar, who was selling handmade bags and purses with her mother, Saeeda, said, “It takes us at least two months to complete one bag which are sold at cheap prices.”
Afshan, a resident of Korangi, told The Express Tribune that it takes her two hours to prepare a sandal, which is sold for only Rs150. “I help my father in making sandals at our house,” she said, while fixing the sole of a sandal she was making. On other such stalls, dresses, bangles, painted crockery and bags were displayed for sale. The department gave gifts and cash to the women who set-up stalls at the event.
A seminar titled ‘Self Employed Women in Pakistan’ was also organised at the university, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission, department of social work of KU and Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Niswan.
The event was organised to celebrate International Women’s Day and to spread awareness among women about their rights. While inaugurating the event, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Waseem Akhtar said the role of women is pivotal for society’s development. “I am delighted to see that Women’s Day is organised on a regular basis in KU, which [increases] awareness among the women about their rights,” he said.
Talking about the Women Protection Bill [of Punjab], Akhtar said the bill is commendable but criticism on it is discriminatory for women. “Our party has strived a lot for the rights of women at every level,” he said.
KU faculty of social sciences dean Dr Moonis Ahmar was of the opinion that a lot has been said and written about empowering women, but now was the right time to do something. “The mindset that women are not equal to men needs to be changed,” he said, adding that the role of women in the country’s development cannot be ignored as they are a key part of our society.
Encouraging female students to take part in vocational and technical education, KU faculty of management and administrative sciences dean Dr Khalid Iraqi said women living in rural areas of the country are the real game-changers. Iraqi stressed that women must be provided a safe atmosphere in which they can get an education and also fulfill their duties without any fear.
Centre of excellence for women director Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah believes girls need to be strong to fight the discrimination they face. “We are lucky that we have hardworking women, but they do not get any reward for their work in society,” she said, adding that violence and child abuse are the major issues of society that need to be addressed.