Press Release – Round table: “Role of Women in Socio-Economic Development of

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Press Release
Round table: “Role of Women in Socio-Economic Development of Pakistan”
March 7, 2022

The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organised a Round table titled, “Role of Women in Socio-Economic Development of Pakistan,” on March 7, 2022. The event was part of the International Women Day celebration. Ambassador Seema Ilahi Baloch, Pakistan’s Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Poland was the Keynote Speaker for the event. Other discussants included: Ms Aliya Amirali, Lecturer Qauid –i- Azam University, Islamabad; Ms Sadaf Dar, Officer Gender and Development, Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN); Ms Jubilee Hunzai, member, Civil Society, Pakistan; and Ms Misbah Mukhtar, Research Associate, ISSI.

In her introductory remarks Dr Neelum Nigar, Director, CSP, welcomed the guests and said that women have a big role to play in the socio-economic development of Pakistan and for that they need to be provided a conducive environment and opportunities.

While in his welcome remarks Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI, said that equality of opportunity for women is a key for sustainable future of Pakistan. For enhancing the economic empowerment of women, it is important to address the challenges beforehand.

Ambassador Seema Ilahi Baloch said that bringing women into economic sphere is necessary for socio-economic development of Pakistan. Human capital especially women need investment as they form about half of population of the country and are poorly represented in their contributions towards the GDP of the country. The government has taken steps to improve the situation, but implementation is still lacking.

She concluded by saying that societal attitudes towards role of women also needs to change and their rights need to be protected. The pandemic has made things worse, and many women have lost their jobs. The new National Security policy does recognise that human security is important which includes gender security, but social protection can not be a substitute for socio- economic development.

While presenting her comments, Ms Aliya Amirali said that gender inequality is the core issue and it severely impacts the socio-economic development in Pakistan. The structural challenges associated with this issue need to be resolved. Ms Sadaf Dar stated that rural interventions should focus on building leadership skills of rural women as this can lead to their empowerment at all levels, starting from households to the  community levels. similarly, Ms Jubilee Hunzai said that women with disabilities need to be focused on and provided opportunities as they are also part of the society and can contribute greatly to the uplift of Pakistan’s economy. Ms Misbah Mukhtar stated that women should be able to make their own decisions and execute them as well which includes their right to vote in a democratic society.

Ambassador Khalid Mahmood Chairman BoG, ISSI conclude the Round table by saying that more women should be included in decision make especially with regards to policies related to their rights.