KARACHI – World Bank (WB) Group Senior Director, Gender Carel Grown has said that 21 percent of Pakistani parliamentarians are women and this ratio is higher than other South Asian countries.
“Political participation of women is pivotal for women empowerment and economic development,” she said, and added, “Men have played a key role in many women empowerment campaigns and supported their female colleagues in this regard.”
She was addressing a seminar entitled, ‘Gender issues both globally and regionally and their relevance in Pakistan’, organised by Karachi University’s (KU) Applied Economics Research Centre on Thursday.
She further said that there were hundreds of laws in Europe and Central Asia that limited working women while there was no law in Pakistan that stopped women from work.
“Early marriages in the developing world are a great challenge for working women. Only legislation for women empowerment and gender equality is not important, such norms and values must be there for bridging this gap,” WB official said, and added, “1/3 of women in the world have faced violence at least once in their lifetime. Violence against women is a serious issue, having economic consequences as well causing the loss of 2-3 percent of the GDP to the national economy. Alcoholism of man is one of the major causes of violence against women.”
She further said that only two percent of women in Pakistan had access to private bank accounts. “Women in Pakistan are predominant in university level education, but they are not transformed into the labour market. Women’s participation in the labour market boosts the economies of the country,” she observed. She informed that in 18 countries, husbands were legally empowered to stop their wives from jobs.
“Empowered women will ultimately help in boosting the nation’s economy, household income and reducing poverty,” she said, and added, “In America, women’s participation in the labour market has contributed to poverty reduction,” she told the gathering.