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Efforts urged to empower women

ISLAMABAD March 29,2005: Pakistan ranks 120th among 177 countries in terms of social and economic indicators and stands at 64th in gender empowerment measures, with 16.80 per cent female labour force participation and 41.8 per cent female literacy rate. Infant mortality rate in Pakistan is 8.1 per cent while maternal mortality rate is 0.35 per cent.

This was stated by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz while inaugurating a 3-day “International Conference on Gender Mainstreaming and Millennium Development Goals” at a local hotel on Monday. A large number of local and foreign delegates, federal and state ministers and MPs attended the conference.

The PM said the government as well as NGOs and civil society must continue cohesive and relentless efforts for empowerment of women and restoration of their inalienable rights without further loss of time. He stressed on concerted global efforts for achieving the 8 objectives set by the Beijing Declaration on Gender mainstreaming and Millennium development in 2000.

The PM said that Pakistani government had focussed on women’s political empowerment and set an example in the region by giving them 20 per cent representation in legislatures and 33 per cent in local bodies.

While referring to Criminal law (Amendment) Act 2004, commonly known as the law against honour killing, Mr Aziz said the law would certainly help combat deplorable phenomenon of violence against women’. He said the national commission on the status of women was a key institution for advancement of women.

The prime minister said in order to bring down poverty, his government had planned a crash programme for skill enhancement in both women and men. He said the government had setup a fund for providing rural women job opportunities.

He said the government aimed at adding value in production chain, capacity building and vocational training to link women producers to local, national and eventually to global markets.

Mr Aziz said that besides effecting gender reforms action plan (GRAP), which envisaged inclusion of women in government structure, the government had formulated a mid-term development framework (MTDF) for 2005-2010 to establish a just and sustainable economic system for alleviating poverty and achieving millennium development goals. Earlier, the adviser to the prime minister on women development presented welcome address.
Source: Dawn