ISLAMABAD: Pakistani women have tremendous potential and there is a need to bring them into the mainstream of development. This was said by the outgoing American ambassador Cameron Munter while inaugurating the Pakistan Gender Coalition along with his wife, Dr Marilyn Wyatt, and the Aurat Foundation on Sunday.
The coalition is a network of Pakistani civil society organisations, academic and research institutions, and media organisations working together to promote gender equity in Pakistan.
Ambassador Munter said, “I saw many of Pakistan’s strengths during my short tenure in the country, but women are the great strength of this society and taking them on board in every sphere of life will make a major contribution towards development.”
He added, “This country cannot make progress as long as men do not realise how much importance a woman’s contribution has for national development.”
Munter said gender equality is a key for both men and women, and more importantly, for the progress of Pakistan, which has significant potential. “Women’s empowerment was the ideology of Quaid-i-Azam and the US also believes in the gender equality. That is why the USAID is providing assistance to bring women into the mainstream of development,” he added.
Munter added that he has seen many qualities in the people of Pakistanis and he and his wife are leaving this country with great memories.
Dr Marilyn Wyatt said she was very impressed by the potential of Pakistan women, whether they are housewives, parliamentarians, teachers, lady health workers or farm workers.
Aurat Foundation Executive Director Naeem Mirza hailed the Pakistani parliament for passing six landmarks bills during last four years for the empowerment of women.
The event was also attended by beneficiaries and representatives of more than 70 civil society organisations working on gender issues with funding from the USAID Gender Equity Programme.
The launch event was organized by the Aurat Foundation-administered USAID Gender Equity Program.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2012.