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PPF Seminar on Rural Women

Date: October 14, 2004
Location: Karachi

Some NGOs and media personnel were distorting country’s image in the eyes of world by presenting Pakistan as an unsafe land for women.

This was stated by Dr. Saeeda Malik, Minister for Women Development, Government of Sindh while speaking at a seminar Recognizing Rural Women as Partners in Progress organized by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and Association of Business, Professional and Agricultural Women in connection with World Rural Women’s Day, being observed this with theme “Biodiversity for food security: women farmers are ready” on October 14, 2004.

Dr. Saeed Malik said women especially living in rural areas are free and hard working and they are performing their responsibilities in their homes as well as in the fields satisfactorily. She maintained that state of women in Pakistan was much better then those of several other countries in the world as local women, both living in rural and urban areas of the country were free to get education and adopt any profession.

Dr. Malik said everywhere in Pakistan women can be seen performing their responsibilities at homes and in the agricultural fields, helping out their families in earning their livelihood and contributing towards strengthening national economy.

She added that steps were taken by the government to empower women, which include provision of education, health facilities and professional training to them, their participation in country’s political process from grassroots to highest level and promulgation of laws for curbing crimes against them.

She said women’s contribution has been grossly underreported in various censuses and surveys and their contribution to economy assessed accurately between 30-40 percent.

She observed women participate in all operations related to crop production including sowing, transplanting, weeding and h
arvesting besides post-harvest activities which include threshing, winnowing, drying, grinding, husking and storage. They do all this in addition to their domestic household responsibilities.

National President Association of Business, Professional and Agricultural Women Ms. Shamim Kazmi said although men all over the world own 90 percent agricultural land, yet 70 percent agricultural activities are carried out by women, even in Pakistan which indicates the role of women in agriculture sector.

She said rural women, especially young rural girls in Pakistan were facing many problems due to lack of awareness, protection and poverty. She urged government initiate schemes and programs for the welfare of young rural girls, who unfortunately are forced to get married at an early stage of their life.

Ms. Kazmi said independent women farmers face problems in marketing of their agricultural products, grains, vegetables and fruits and suggested for establishment of agricultural utility stores at Taluka level for purchasing agricultural products from women farmers at reasonable prices.

She said government should provide short-term loans, seeds and other facilities to rural women to make economic conditions better.

Feature Editor Pakistan Press Foundation, Ms. Saima Naz, informed about the activities of her organization in creating awareness among rural women and providing them training to speak out their issues in form of features, articles and letters to editors.

She urged lauding newspaper organizations for publishing articles and features authored by rural women and electronic media channels and radio stations to allocate time for listening to the miseries and issues of women living in rural areas.

Director PPF, Ms. Samina Ishaque, also spoke on the occasion while the seminar was followed by a question answer session.

List of Speakers
Dr. Saeeda Malik
Minister for Women Development
Government of Sindh
Ms. Shamim Kazmi
Association of Business Professional and Agricultural Women
Ms. Saima Naz
Feature Editor
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Ms. Samina Ishaque
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)