Minister of State for IT Anusha Rahman Khan was awarded the coveted ‘GEM-TECH Global Achievers 2015’ award for her efforts to empower women through technology.
Two United Nations organisations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Women, jointly awarded the IT minister in recognition of her work.
The award ceremony was hosted by ITU and UN Women on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly high-level meeting in New York.
The annual award recognises the role of individuals in improving engagement of women in Information Communication Technology (ICT), allowing them to become decision-makers and producers within the relevant sector.
Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the ITU and UN Women, Rahman said, “This award is dedicated to the people of Pakistan and particularly to the young girls and women of my country who if provided the right opportunities, have the potential to contribute towards the global development agenda.
“There is a need to maximise collaboration and joint working under a strategic global partnership to open up the universe of ICT powered opportunities that the women of the world have been waiting for and which they well and truly deserve”, she added.
Further, the award is in honour of the minister’s role in impacting the status and quantum of Pakistan’s ICT sector, bringing the country closer to international standards in the IT and Telecom industries and particularly increasing the role of women the in relative sector.
ITU and UN Women have also recognised several other policy and legislative initiatives undertaken by her with direct relevance to the subject of women empowerment in general.
The minister’s initiative of direct significance includes technical ICT skill development and capacity building programme particularly for the less privileged women of the society, thus offering self-employment opportunities to them.
In her special initiative for girls, MoIT has partnered with Microsoft Corporation to increase access for all girls to learn computer and communication skills.
Further, training will be given to the young learners at facilitation centres which are being funded by the Universal Services Fund (USF), for commercially relevant certification in software coding and simple application development through intuitive and user-friendly interface.
According to sources, the programme will be inaugurated in 2016, following which it will offer employment opportunities to thousands of girls every year through institutionalisation in over 500 Telecentres that are also being launched under the USF programme within a period of two years.
Rahman was also one of the ministers who initiated the draft legislation of the Cyber Crime Bill. The legislation which is in the final process of parliamentary approvals, is a flagship initiative in terms of its provisions to ensure safety, security and protection to women against online abuse and harassment, while providing penalties to offenders on these counts.