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Empowerment to help women win their due status in society, moot told

KHAIRPUR: Speakers at a conference held at the Shah Abdul Latif University (Salu) here on Wednesday demanded economic empowerment of women and ensuring equal opportunities for them in all spheres of life, arguing that only then the attitude of this man-dominated society towards the weaker segment would change.

Salu vice chancellor Prof Dr Parveen Shah, Dr Samina Isran, Dr Tajnees Pirzada, Dr Sofia Khushk, Shaida Chandio, Rubina Shaheen, Qamarun Nisa Larik, Paras Khaskheli and many other women, currently running the affairs of the public or private institutions they are associated with, spoke at the conference.

They highlighted various reasons leading to the failure of the state in empowering women, who constitute 49 per cent of the total population, and ensuring protection to them from excesses, ranging from domestic violence to murder.

In her presidential speech at the inaugural session titled ‘Empowering women: empowering humanity’, Salu vice chancellor Prof Parveen Shah said that celebrating the international women day was actually applauding women’s global struggle for their empowerment and renewing the commitment to the cause. She said the aim of the struggle was transforming society into the one that was free from all kinds of discrimination against women.

She stressed the need for giving all fundamental rights, from the right to live to equality and dignity.

Prof Shah observed that more women were coming forward and proving their mettle in the fields of politics, economy, public administration etc. “But we cannot claim to be having a society free from gender-based discrimination as gender inequality can still be seen in all spheres of life. There is low representation of women in public offices and decision- making bodies and leadership,” she said.

She was of the view that role of women could not be ignored while addressing any issue, be it education, health, climate change, extremism, terrorism or political and economic stability of the country. Therefore, she added, full empowerment of women would greatly help the state to cope with issues and crises.

Other speakers, agreeing with her, also shed light on the socio-economic condition of home-based women workers and called for improving their education level and developing their skills, besides providing them access to local and international markets. They also called for ensuring all basic facilities as well as financial assistance and welfare services to rural women for their social uplift.

In the second session of the conference titled ‘Success story of the daughter of Pakistan’, the dynamic role of women luminaries like Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and others in promoting democracy was highlighted. A debate on crime rate in cases involving women victims was held in the third session.

Rana Shah, Dr Farhana Phulpoto, Dr Yasmeen Faiz Kazi, Dr Subhan Gaad, Dr Najma Noor Phulpoto, Prof Shahida Mangi, Dr Iram Rani and Sadruddin Siddiqui took part in the debate and called for measures to check honour killings, murder of women to deprive them of their inherited properties, excesses on women by their male family members and feudal lords, bonded labour and other crimes which are common in rural areas.

Deans and teachers of various Salu departments and a large number of students attended the conference.