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PPF Seminar on “Women in Decision-Making: Meeting Challenges, Creating Change”

Location: Karachi

The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) organised a seminar for journalists titled “Women in Decision-Making: Meeting Challenges, Creating Change” on Thursday, March 09, 2006 at the PPF Vicky Zeitlin Media Library, in Karachi.

The event was held in connection with March 8, United Nations International Women’s Day, the theme of which for 2006 was “Women in decision-making: meeting challenges, creating change”.

Fatima Suraiyya Bajia, Advisor to CM Sindh & Renowned Writer, Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, Sindh secretary for sports, culture and tourism, Shamim Kazmi, National President, Association of Business, Professional and Agricultural Women, Anis Haroon, Chief, Aurat Foundation, Rizwan Edhi from Edhi Foundation and Samina Ishaque, Director, PPF addressed the seminar.

The speakers stressed on doing away with misconception that the women were incapable of taking any decision. They however emphasized on their economic empowerment and offering opportunities to come forward, share responsibilities and show the power of decision making.

Ms. Fatima Suraiyya Bajia, renowned writer and Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister, said that a woman plays the role of decision-maker since the day she becomes mother.She added that a woman also plays an important role in character building of her children. “ The woman should not be undermined and in fact should be treated alike as the creation of human beings is based on equality,” she asserted.

Secretary, Social Welfare & Culture, Sindh, Mrs. Mahtab Akbar Rashidi said a woman is capable of decision-making. “ She takes decision whenever she needs, be it acceptable to any one or not,” Mrs. Rashidi said. “Pakistan twice had a woman Prime Minister while a number of women had been elected to parliament. Besides several organizations are headed by the women, who had been running them successfully taking right decisions,” she said. It also needs removing misconception that a woman takes wrong decisions; Mrs. Rashidi said adding that males sitting at the helms of affairs at any level had also been committing blunders. She called for striving towards making the womenfolk economically empowered to boost her morale.

Human Rights activist Ms. Anis Haroon, who heads Aurat Foundation, viewed that the women in this country l
ives in different societies and were divided in various economic groups. According to her, a woman holding the purse, was more confident due to which she plays a decision-maker’s role. She called for legislation to recognize the work done by women and also to give them right to land-ownership. Ms. Haroon also suggested 50 percent representation in every walk of life to women according to their population ratio, however added that induction of women at different levels could be according to their potential.

She also called for recognizing hidden aspects of women, who work at home taking entire responsibilities of their families, which otherwise are considered having no economic value.

Ms. Shamim Kazmi, chairperson, Association of Business, Professional & Agricultural Women, viewed that the women in rural areas and the urban slums were deprived of right to decision-making despite the fact that 68 percent of the agriculture workforce consists of women. According to her, there were a number of organizations in corporate sector, which are now headed by women. Similarly, the women have made their way in bureaucracy and hold key positions. Advocating the empowerment of women, Ms. Kazmi said,” A confident and empowered woman would prove to be far better partner than a weaker and suppressed woman for a man.”

Rizwan Edhi, who represented Mrs. Bilquis Edhi, giving startling figures told that 99 percent of the newborn babies left at 300 cradles, setup by Edhi Foundation across the country were girls. Same was the ratio of bodies of the newborn babies found by the organization, he added.

According to him there were over 4000 women were sheltered at Edhi Homes in the country of which 1500 at Sohrab Goth and 300 girls aging up to 16-years at Clifton Center. Majority of the women at these centers was psycho patients mainly owing to poverty and the conditions prevailing at their homes and in the society, he said. Rizwan Edhi told that Edhi Foundation gave about 17000 babies in adoption to the families during last 48 years. He underlined the need for setting up more and more shelter homes for women in the country.

Earlier, Ms. Samina Ishaque spoke on the subject and introduced the advocacy programs launched by PPF for empowerment of womenfolk.


List of Speakers
Ms. Fatima Suraiyya Bajia
Advisor to CM & Renowned Writer
Govt of Sindh
Ms Anis Haroon
Aurat Foundation
Ms. Shamim Kazmi
National President
Association of Business Professional and Agricultural Women
Mr. Rizwan
Represent Bulquis Edhi
Edhi Foundation