LAHORE, March 19: USAID Economic Affairs Director Amy Meyer says Pakistan needs to launch an awareness campaign to change perception towards working women.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Leadership challenges and solutions for women entrepreneurs’ organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Centre for International Private Enterprise here on Wednesday, she stressed the need for career identification coupled with financial assistance for rural women to start their own businesses.
She said the measures would help change the very fate of the country as women comprised more than half of the total population of Pakistan.
The USAID director said if women from the grassroots level were empowered economically, they definitely would have a say in the decision-making process at the institutional and domestic levels.
LCCI Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha said that the chamber was taking all measures for women empowerment in line with government policy as their progress was the progress of society. The chamber not only held seminars and conferences but also arranged training programmes so that maximum women could start their businesses and contribute towards the well-being of the economy.
He said in recent years government had been focusing more on the development of women entrepreneurs but there was a need that some package of incentives should be announced for women entrepreneurs so that they could be able to go global. He also urged women workers to acquire modern techniques for business promotion and come forward with new ideas. Skill enhancement of women and their economic independence was need of the hour.
Centre for International Private Enterprise Country Director Moin Fidda said the primary role of the enterprise was to support its local partners’ efforts to improve the business environment through advocacy and policy dialogue in Pakistan. The centre coordinated the provision of small project grants to associations and think tanks as well as assisted in a public outreach and education programme that would provide material on entrepreneurship and market economics to policymakers, educators, and the business community.
The centre had been working to increase business participation in the democratic process and would implement programs that enhance business knowledge and strengthen the entrepreneurial culture of the private sector.
He said the centre had identified four principal areas to help the business community to become a leading advocate for market-oriented reform and democratic governance. These included a grants programme supporting grassroots networks in developing countries, an award-winning communications strategy, capacity building programmes, and technical assistance through field offices. It recognised that successes in one region might provide a model approach for another.
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Women Resource Centre Chairperson Shamim Akhtar stressed the need to train and develop working women.
She said businesswomen should try to develop clusters if they wanted to enter the world market and they must have men onboard with them.
The conference was unique in the sense that it had a good representation from leading educational institutions such as Lahore College for Women’s University, Lahore University of Management Sciences, GC University and social and services sectors.