LAHORE - Women’s economic empowerment is essential for the growth of the country therefore, new laws should be framed to ensure availability of collateral- free finance to women entrepreneurs.
This was the crux of the speeches delivered at a seminar organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in connection with International Women’s Day here on Saturday. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari presented Address of Welcome while former MNA Yasmeen Rehman was the Chief Guest. Former MNA Shareen Arshad, Director Sozo Water Park Mrs Mahjabeen Lashari, former Vice President Saeeda Nazar, Chairperson of the Committee Nabeela Intisar, former Executive Committee Member Nasira Taskeen and LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar threw light on women’s role in economic well being of the country.  
The speakers were of the view that all segments of the society would have to make concerted efforts to ensure equal opportunities to women to thrive, because when women succeed, communities and countries succeed.
They said that truth remains that the dream of progress and prosperity cannot be achieved without the full and equal participation of women who are now more than half our population.
Although during the last couple of years an increased participation of women in economic activities has been witnessed. Their economic activities are no more confined to traditional trades but one can see them even in running and managing of businesses of their own, working as career women in the service sector such as marketing, banking, information technology, armed forces of Pakistan, media, traffic management, Civil Service of Pakistan.
But despite this happy development, the women still lack access to information about available opportunities for their economic well-being, entrepreneurial skills, procedures, business codes etc.
The LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry will collaborate with international organizations to bring the women in the mainstream business activities.
He said that plans were afoot to sign MoUs with leading banks to ensure loans to women entrepreneurs on priority basis. He said that the very objective of these agreements were to encourage more and more women to join the business arena.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that in Pakistan 72.2 percent of women are agricultural workers, manufacturing represents 13 percent of the female labor force and community, personal and social services comprising a further 11 percent. Rural women are major contributors in four sub-sectors of the rural economy.
He said that there would be a considerable impact on the economy, size and the rate of growth of Pakistan if the proportion of women in the workforce reached close to men, say 50 percent. This would mean an addition of 25 million women to the labor force. This addition to the workforce will have the capacity to add well over US$ 75 billion to the gross domestic product of US$ 250 billion — an increase of 30 percent.