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Women contribute equally to national economy

KARACHI – Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister for Privatisation, said that though the women of Pakistan had been able to make it to the portals of the legislature, there still was a long way to go and lots of work was needed to compete with the other half of the world.

He was addressing the Women of the Year, 2003-04, award ceremony organised by the Ladies Forum on October8 as chief guest at a local hotel.

The event began an hour late due to diversion of the PIA flight of the chief guest.

Attending the event despite his busy schedule, he said that he was really perturbed by the condition of women in the country, particularly in the rural areas.

In the male-dominated society of Pakistan in particular, he said, women contributed equally to the national economy by helping their husbands in their fields of endeavour. Women in rural areas, he said, had an indispensable role to play in daily life.

In the scorching sun, he said, they slogged in the fields, which really disturbed him and compelled him to conclude that a strategy should be formulated at the national level for the economic empowerment of the women.

In the prevailing circumstances, he said, it was the sole responsibility of the government to remove barriers to the advancement of women.

While acknowledging the contribution of women in every field of life, he described the sorry state of affairs where women were being sold and exchanged as part of the age-old traditions and customs that continued to cling on despite their pernicious nature.

There was a dire need, he said, to change the attitude of the people but it must also be kept in mind that even, one woman with determination and resolve could bring about revolutionary changes in society.

Appreciating the efforts being made by Begum Ispahani and Zareen Aziz he said that they could be role models for Pakistani women. With their zealous efforts they had attained their goals which brought them fame.

This life-time achievement award, he said, clearly indicated their meritorious work in their respective fields.

Begum Ghammar Ispahani and Zarine Aziz, President, First Women’s Bank, Limited, were awarded Women of the Year Award 2003-04 for their remarkable achievement in their respected fields.

This was the 12th Women of the Year Award. Mehtab Akber Rashdi, Information Secretary, Sindh, presented the citations.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Dr Masooma Hasan, former cabinet secretary and former Ambassador, and S H Hashmi, Managing Director, Orient Advertisers.

Farzana Rehman, Chairperson of the Ladies Forum, in her welcome address, highlighted the objectives and aims of the Ladies Forum and sought the government’s support in this regard.

She elaborated on the financial constraints faced by the forum and said that due to lack of resources the women’s yearbook for 2003 could not be published.

The federal minister, while recognising the work done by the Ladies Forum, extended his support on behalf of the government.

He particularly praised Farzana Rehman’s efforts saying that she herself deserved the award for her painstaking work on women’s issues without any personnel stakes.

Source: The News

Date:10/9/2004

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