“The labour force participation rate of women in the country is only 30 per cent because of social traditions, gender discrimination and a lack of education,” University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan said on Saturday.
He was addressing a forum at the UAF on the Role of Working Women in the Economy.
Khan stressed the need to spread awareness about the importance of education for women and providing them with equal opportunities.
“The participation of women in labour force is key to economic development… they have great potential to secure a better future for coming generations,” he said.
The VC said literacy rate in the country was only 58 per cent.
This, he said, needed to improve for the country to face the challenges of the 21st century.
“Only 47 per cent women in Pakistan are literate… by comparison 70 per cent men are literate,” he said.
Khan said 60 per cent of the students in American universities were women.
He said that 40 per cent of the students and faculty at the UAF were women.
“We are doing our best to increase women’s participation at the university,” he added.
Psychiatrist Nausheen Shaikh said working women were playing their part in the socio-economic development of the country.
She said, “Hazrat Khadija was the first career woman in Islam. Muslim women need to follow in her footsteps.”
Shaikh said it was important that women were encouraged to work and their rights were protected.
She also spoke about ways to cope with stress.
Registrar Muhammad Hussain said women were the most important pillar of a family or society.
He said as many as 600 women were working at the campus. Out of these, he said, 400 were lecturers or assistant professors. “The number is increasing,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2013.
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