The dream of self-sufficiency and poverty alleviation could not be materialised without empowering women in the country, said an expert during an exhibition. Dr Iqrar Ahmad, the vice chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, inaugurated a thesis exhibition organised by students of the Institute of Rural Home Economics at Art Gallery of Iqbal Auditorium on Tuesday.He said that gender empowerment is the key to move forward towards the destination of prosperity. He said that UAF was pursuing a human resource development programme by extending special attention on the field of human nutrition and dietetics, clothing & textile and fine arts for female students. Dr Khan said that in these degree programmes, students get training at various labs and other related outlets like Day Care Centre, Industrial Home and Junior Laboratory School.He added that a many skills development programmes under this initiative would be offered during summer vacations so that girl students could enhance their skills in order to meet the challenges for livelihood. The VC stressed the need for housekeeping and chef courses for emerging job market of Middle East and Europe. The chief guest, earlier, inaugurated paintings, fine arts, clothing & textile thesis work exhibition and applauded the efforts of students for creativity.Dr Faqir Muhammad, director general of the National Institute of Food Science & Technology, briefed the participants about new initiatives by the institute and degree programmes which are being launched from new educational year. Dr Ayesha Siddiq, the coordinator, said that this exhibition would remain opened for female students and families till June 22, 2013. She hoped that visitors from various organisations, schools and other institution would also visit the exhibition.