LAHORE - The speakers at Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan (HNPIP) have said that education is an essential means to empower women with knowledge, self-confidence and earning capacities so that they could produce a bright generation. They were speaking at an HNPIP seminar entitled ‘Status of Women-Issues of Economic Empowerment’ Thursday.Justice (r) Fakhrun Nisa Khokhar presided over while PU ICS Director Dr Nousheena Saleem was the chief guest. Speakers included Dr Rashida Quraishi and Working Women Organization Director Aima Mehmood. HNPIP Director Absar Abdul Ali was the moderator.They said that like other parts of the world, the women empowerment issue exists in Pakistan as well. They emphasized that women needed to recognize their own potential besides overcoming the barriers they had been facing since long. Fakharun Nisa criticized the antique customs and trends of the society that discouraged women education even the status she could have enjoyed otherwise. She could not be elevated as Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, she regretted despite she the senior most judge of the court. Citing Malika Saba, a queen, she said that women could be a ruler as well and play a constructive role in every walk of life. She also recalled her efforts for women empowerment legislation. Dr Noushina Saleem said that sustainable development is only possible when men and women enjoy equal opportunities. It was feared, she said, that the educated ladies would challenge male chauvinism. Quoting the Holy Quran, she said, it emphasized education of men and women. Education is the only factor that could bring constructive changes in the society, the ICS director highlighted. Dr Rashida Quraishi said that as the women were not empowered enough because they were less qualified than men. The only reason for such state, she said, was the concept that the women were not supposed to earn their livelihood. She said that only education adorned women could survive in the rainy days. Why a part of women population was not allowed to cast their votes in northern areas. She said 52 percent of women as per a UNDP report, would play a pivotal role in elections. If educated and empowered, the women she stressed, would make the country a prosperous one.Aima Mehmood said that the women should not surrender their due rights in property etc otherwise they would not be able to stand high in the social arena. She also highlighted issues relating to the professional development of women.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Mar-2014 here.