KARACHI: President of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Mian Zahid Hussain has said that the government needs to take measures for capacity-building of women with the help of 15 women chambers of commerce keeping in view several changes because of automation worldwide.
“The laws to protect women rights need to be observed in its true spirit and challenges faced by working women, including harassment at workplaces need to be curbed,” he urged, talking to a delegation of Attock women chamber of commerce who, led by the chamber’s patron-in-chief Hina Mansab Khan, called on him.
Mian Zahid said there are no advanced and professional institutions in Attock, Chakwal and nearby districts, which is a major hurdle in higher education of women in the area. Though universities are in Wah but there are no boarding facilities therefore women from other areas are not inclined towards them.
“Government needs to establish higher education and capacity building institutions in the area to polish the skills of local women,” he suggested.
PBIF president said that 49 percent of Pakistan’s population comprises of women and only 25 percent of them are part of workforce. He said majority of women, about 60 percent are working in agriculture sector, 10 percent in services sector while women’s participation in rest of important economic sectors is negligible.
He said planning commission has made huge investment and established centre for social entrepreneurship to make Vision 2025 successful.
Mian Zahid said that that Attock is famous for traditional crafts, including embroidered shoes, painted and lacquered wood work, calico printing, handmade cloths, blankets, printed bed sheets and table covers all over the country. He cited that according to pre-investment study of Punjab government, there lies huge investment potential in the city in various sectors, including handicrafts, fashion designing, beauty products, photography, bakery and confectionary. Skilled and educated women can play significant role in the economic development of the country.
“Encouraging women entrepreneurs is need of time. Women can avail financial assistance through State Bank of Pakistan, First women Bank, Akhuwat Foundation and other micro-financing institution to spread existing or start new businesses,” he said, adding that inclusion of women in the economic activities is vital.
Veteran businessman said only 16 percent women were part of workforce in 1992 while according to current gender inequality index of the UNDP, 25 percent women are working which shows only 9 percent increase in women workforce in the last 26 years, which is worth consideration. India ranked 130th on the World’s gender inequality index while Pakistan ranked 150th.