In Pakistan, many families still discourage women from working because of conservative beliefs and values. This is one of the reasons for our slow economic progress and growth. We must learn from Bangladesh, which is an Islamic country and has witnessed substantial economic growth in recent years. According to Kushk Basu’s Brookings Think Tank, Bangladesh’s economic transformation was largely driven by social change, which began with women’s empowerment. A World Bank report revealed that 36% of females in Bangladesh participate in the labour market whereas in Pakistan only 22% of women participate in the labour market.
Women’s participation in the labour market paves the way for economic development because of increased labour input. Women will also bring new skills to the workplace, which can increase productivity and gains. This will help increase economic diversity and reduce income inequality.
Although the number of women in employment has increased in recent years, we still have a long way to go. It is imperative that the government undertake initiatives to empower women and encourage them to join the labour force. An important step would be to increase the number of females in education because it will translate into labour market outcomes. We must recognise women’s rights and draw more women to the labour force to achieve economic progress and development in the future.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2021.