ISLAMABAD    -   COVID-19 unfolded immense opportunities for the rural women to act as agents of change to reverse the adverse effects of the climate change that is currently challenging the development and progress of the entire human race as it happened during COVID-19 pandemic that set unprecedented course of human tragedy, speakers said at Annual Conference on International Rural Women Day.

The theme for the three-day Annual Rural Women Conference is “Rural Women’s Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation, COVID-19 Response, Governance and Disaster Preparedness.” The conference will be concluded on Saturday with award distribution ceremony.

Speakers were of the view that the pandemic increased resilience of local communities to fight back against the coronavirus. 

They highlighted the importance of inclusion of women at all levels and in all spheres of life. They also stressed on the need to improve women participation in decision-making level and highlighted the role of women’s participation in democratic processes that is real harbinger of change for their inclusion at decision-making level. 

In connection with the 13th conference, PODA-Pakistan and the rural women leaders from across the country has started sessions on the significance of the day and other themes in more than 65 districts which were attended by more than 1300 rural women at various places following COVID-related SOPs. 

She said that the increasing rate of population is not helping to reduce the impact the climate change and in this scenario there are rural women who are actually feeling the intensity of the issue because during coronavirus pandemic, women were the ones who actually bore the brunt of the issue. 

“The platform of rural women conference served as a place where voices of the representatives from over 100 districts of the country raised concerns for an inclusive response to manage disasters like the way Corona pandemic played unprecedented havoc with the local communities here in Pakistan.”

Rural women leaders representing over 100 districts across the country attended the conference at Lok Virsa, combing offline and online zoom sessions. Following COVID-19 related SOPS to stop the spread of the corona virus, participants maintained social distancing and ensured masks throughout the duration of the conference at the premises. 

The participants came in groups who were accommodated following COVID-19 SOPs inside the hall and outside in open air as well where they were facilitated to screen the conference proceedings.