Islamabad: February 12 is a National Day of Women, which is being commemorated across Pakistan to pay homage to the women of Pakistan for their heroic struggle for attainment of their rights. The day reminds us of the women’s relentless fight against dictatorship and oppression, which began in 1983 and has now evolved into a full-fledged movement for women empowerment and gender equality.
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was a powerful voice for women rights and emancipation. She waged an arduous struggle for the empowerment of women throughout her eventful life. History will remember her as a great advocate of women rights.
She once said, “The women who cannot plan her life, plan her family, plan a career, fundamentally not free. I am determined to change the plight of women in my country. I am determined to harness their potential to the gigantic task of nation building.”
Democracies are always instrumental in advancing the cause of women empowerment, while dictatorships muzzle their voices. As inheritor of legacy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the present democratic government has undertaken a number of reforms in legislative, political, administrative and social areas that seek to strengthen the role of women in the national mainstream.
The present Parliament has a number of pro-women enactments to its credit such as “Women Protection from Harassment at Workplace Act 2010, Amendment in PPC 509, Acid Crime Prevention Act 2011, the Prevention of anti-Women Practices Act 2011 and Fund for Women in Distress and Detention Act 2011.”
Recently, National Commission on Status of Women has been enacted into an empowered, independent and autonomous body. These legislative measures constitute a milestone in the women’s journey of empowerment and emancipation.
Women’s political empowerment cannot be de-linked from the process of economic empowerment. Key interventions introduced by the present government include Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as a flagship program meant to empower women on sustainable basis. BISP, a women-oriented program, provides skill development and technical training, health insurance and loans without mark up to Rs. 3 lakh.
It has also provided Rs. 25,000 to the female flood affecters. The direct cash transfer facility under BISP is benefiting five million households across the country. ‘Waseel-a-Taleem’ program of BISP would target millions of girls to enhance female literacy rate in the country.
The present government has encouraged the participation of women in the national life. Women are serving at key positions in the present government as well as in the universities. The Speaker of National Assembly, Foreign and Information Ministers are women. It was during the stint of this government that women officers were inducted in Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy.
Pakistani women are among the most resilient among the womenfolk in the world as they have braved the rigours of wars, unprecedented floods and other natural calamities. Our rural women are a major contributor to the national economy and playing their appreciable role in elevating the status of their households through hard work. They continue to be powerful metaphor of courage and hope in the face of heavy odds and challenges.
On this day, let us pledge to keep working for empowerment of women because the dream of nation building is impossible to realize without their effective participation in the process.
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