KARACHI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has stressed the inclusion of women in labour force, as a means to empower them.
Speaking at the 10th International Women Leaders' Summit, organised by New World Concepts - an enterprise offering consultancy in different areas - on Thursday, Dr Nishtar said women in Pakistan were playing a key role in various sectors, and added that "No country can [even] dream of progressing if half of its population stays at home, not engaging in any productive endeavours."
Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's flagship poverty alleviation Ehsaas Kifalat programme, she assured that the government was taking steps to ensure active participation of women in economic activities.
"When a woman steps out [of her house] for work, her entire family reaps the benefits," she further said, emphasising that women from all sections of the society needed to unite, to support each other and collectively contribute to the country's progress.
The PM's aide said that programmes like Ehsaas Kifalat and Kamiyab Naujawan were aimed at poverty eradication and facilitating women and youth to raise their living standards by acquiring education and being enterprising.
During her address, Dr Nishtar also touched upon the topic of polio workers, largely comprising women. Commending them, she commented, "Several women continue to serve as polio workers despite threats to their lives," which underlines the importance of curbing the diseases across the country.
She also announced that the government was working on another programme directed towards the provision of health facilities that would be launched soon.
Bahrain International Federation of Business president Shaikha Hind Bint Salman Alkhalifa shed light on the role of women leaders, saying that they played a pivotal role in Bahrain's development. Elaborating further, she said that several universities in Bahrain had women as their heads while many others served at top administrative positions in schools and colleges.
Speaking along similar lines, New World Concepts CEO Yasmin Hyder said that the event was organised so that Pakistani women could take inspiration from women leaders around the world to contribute to the progress and growth of the country.
"It is with this vision that we began organising the Women Leaders' Summit and aspire to see many of them spearhead development in the country like Dr Nishtar and [Digital Pakistan head] Tania Aidrus," said Hyder.
Later, Commodore Gulnaz Ahmed, Brigadier Nadia Hayat and Squadron Leader Ambreen Gul shared their struggles and challenging experiences with the audience and participants of Special Olympics Pakistan also talked about their struggles.
The session also included a panel discussion during which, the discourse centred on the inclusion of women in healthcare, digital sector in Pakistan, women leaders and women's participation in the corporate sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2020.