No country has reached gender equality: Speakers

ISLAMABAD – Speakers at rural women conference’s second day on Thursday said no country has reached gender equality and women across the world are subject to discrimination.

The second day of 14th Annual Rural Women Conference began with the dynamic presence and speech by Sharmeela Rasool, Country Representative UN Women Pakistan who enlightening the participants with her experience said that women needed to believe in themselves to do wonders in the world. Sharmeela Rasool, Country Representative UN Women Pakistan was addressing during the second day of three-day Annual Rural Women Conference organised by PODA-Pakistan in Lok Virsa, Islamabad. The conference will culminate on a comprehensive set of resolutions to celebrate International Rural Women Day that is observed every year on 15th October.

She said that although there is no country that has reached gender equality at this moment of time in the world, but we have heard stories of women whose success was spectacular in all spheres of life. We have had stories of women who were empowered and confident enough to set the path for the desired change to uplift women’s status, she added.

“Women across the world are subject to discrimination and violence,” said Sharmeela Rasool adding, “for me there are three key elements which can serve a foundation to achieve success, including awareness about one’s rights and system.” But, being alert and aware of one’s rights and system is not enough; one (you) needs to be engaged fully with all her/his energies and potential while believing in their selves that is the key to success, UN Women Representative said addressing the audience in a convincing manner.

Ms. Baseerat Khan, Member Provincial Assembly, Khyber District, KP said that she believed that a day would come when there would be woman behind the success of another women. Women needed to be united across regions in the country to protect their rights in a mindful way, she added.

“Out of 29 percent women bank account holders, only 18 percent are active against 90 percent of men account holders,” said Ms. Faiqa Naseem, Deputy Director, State Bank of Pakistan during conference proceedings.

She said that women are far behind in financial literacy as compared to men for which the State Bank of Pakistan has been taking steps to see things from gender lens to instil gender diversity in financial institutions. Our step for banking on equality will remove barriers to women’s access to banking and financial services. This will be a breakthrough in the banking system of the country to overhaul from conceptual steps to practical implementation. Rani Shamim Kharal, a rural woman leader from Nankana Sahib, sang Sufi poetry. Sadaf Naz, Director, Her Ground, told story of her inspirational startup focused on the provision of sanitary pads for women. 

Fareeha Ammar, representing UN Women Pakistan moderated the group discussion and invited the women participants to identify key hurdles to achieve their tasks. Fareeha Ammar said that UN Women is working on a limited scale with persons-with-disabilities in Sindh that can be scaled up afterwards.

Nuzhat Shirin, Chairperson, Sindh Commission on the Status of Women applauded the rural women for their untiring efforts to bring change in women’s status in the country. She also briefed the audience about the project of water management in which the provincial government is all set to include women at all levels.


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