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Message of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Prime Minister of Pakistan on National Day of Working Women

Islamabad: December 22 marks the national day for the working women being celebrated at the national level today. The present democratic government dedicated this day to pay tribute to the services of working women for socio-economic development of the country. The day would feature a number of workshops, seminars and programmes, which would raise awareness about the rights of working women.

The women are increasingly emerging as powerful symbol of change and transformation for a better world. Their presence at the leadership positions in multiple fields speaks volumes about their dedication and commitment to move on.

It is heartening to know that the Pakistani working women also remain undeterred by the obstacles in their way and are increasingly making their presence felt in all fields of national life. Their spectacular performance in the field of education is just a case in point. This is illustrated by a report published by the Higher Commission of Pakistan in 2010. According to this report, the percentage of girls in schools rose from 30% 18 years ago to 42% in 2010. Out of 1.1 million university students, the number of women has risen from 23 percent in 1993 to 47 per cent this year.

In the same way, the women also constitute a sizeable part of both formal as well as informal economy. The Pakistani working women have a difficult responsibility of maintaining a fine balance between their public and domestic life. The history of Pakistan is replete with finest examples of women leaderships in public life. Women were at the forefront of freedom struggle along with men.

Likewise, the personalities such as Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto are a beacon of light for the Pakistani women and their role for democracy and people’s rights would continue to inspire the womenfolk for times to come.

In line with the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and manifesto of Pakistan People’s Party, the present democratic government continues to espouse the cause of women empowerment and is taking political, economic and legal steps to bring about improvement in the lives of the working women. I often say that women are my constituency and their empowerment is my personal passion. The women empowerment strategy being pursued by the government is characterized by steps to alleviate poverty, eradicating anti-women practices including violence, expanding women’s access to justice.

Gender equality is on the top of the government’s agenda and necessary policy decisions are being made to empower them. The implementation of 10% women job quota and enactment of ‘Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act 2010, and Prevention of anti-Women Practices Bill 2008 are some of the major steps aimed at increasing space for women participation in the public life.

This government also set up the office of Women’s Ombudsperson to address the grievances of the womenfolk working in public life. I am also proud to inform that the lady officers also got inducted into Pakistani navy and Air Force during the incumbency of the present government. Women are also serving at key positions in the government. Pakistan’s Foreign and Information Ministers, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US and the Speaker of the National Assembly are women. The women also enjoy sizeable representation in both Houses of the Parliament.

On this day, I call upon the women leaders, women rights groups, NGOs, and women parliamentarians to double their efforts for empowerment of the working women. The government, on its part, is determined to lead the way in this regard.

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
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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