Islamabad: On behalf of the Government of Pakistan, I pay homage to all the rural women of Pakistan on the UN Day that acknowledges their contributions in agriculture, national economy and in our society.
On 15th October 2009, I as the Prime Minister also declared 15 October as the “National Day of Rural Women” in Pakistan. I urge all government and non-government bodies, media and the United Nations in Pakistan to give worthwhile importance to this important Day of Rural Women who deserve fair treatment enabling them to be equal partners in the socio-economic development of the society.
Pakistan is an agrarian country and 70 per cent of our population still lives in rural areas. Women make up the largest segment of our population that lives in the villages and work to take care of land, food, animals, households and children. It is the rural women of Pakistan whose role in the agriculture sector is equally important.
I regret to say that despite their huge contributions the rural women of Pakistan often do not get their full rights and stand marginalized in the social order. Many rural women live a life of hardship and do not have access to health and education.
Rural girls are also subject to discrimination in terms of education, food and other facilities of life. Women face problems in access to justice even though the Constitution of Pakistan does not discriminate against women citizens. We are cognizant of their challenges and are trying to rectify the situation through legislations which are in the process of enactment in the Parliament.
The 18th Amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan allows us a great opportunity to work more diligently and efficiently to help the rural women of Pakistan.
The provincial and district government officials can design and implement programs that are closer to the needs of rural women, their families and communities. I urge the provincial and district governments to reach out to the rural communities particularly women farmers and women workers to address their problems.
Pakistan has also signed the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW). The government of Pakistan is committed to upholding this convention.
Rural women farmers in Pakistan play a major role in ensuring food security and in the development of our country. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension services, training and education.
Their vital contribution to our national economy goes largely unnoticed. The International Day of Rural Women helps to spotlight on the life of rural women at least once a year – to remind us how much we owe to rural women and how we should find ways to value their efforts.
Today we salute the rural women of Pakistan on 15th October, 2011. Let us pause and think the crucial roles rural women play in reducing poverty and hunger.
I encourage all Pakistanis to join with the rest of the world in celebrating the achievements of rural women with the determination to work their empowerment in the real sense. If the rural women of Pakistan are prosperous and happy, Pakistan will be happy and prosperous meeting the imperatives of social justice. Let us all try to make this dream a reality.
For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326