It is a matter of grave concern that Pakistan stood at the bottom of gender-related development index and ranked 120th number out of 146 countries across the globe.
This was echoed at the opening session of project and seminar on Gender Sensitization, and Women Empowerment in Agriculture sector arranged by Department of Rural Sociology and Institute of Home Economics, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
Addressing on the occasion, MNA Ghulam Bibi Bharwana stressed upon the need to educate the rural women to empower them by creating awareness about their rights in the society. She said that rural women are playing a pivotal role in the development of agricultural but their role remain unrecognized. She said that the students, academia and researchers should go to the doorsteps of rural women to raise their standards of living and livelihoods . She said that women empowerment was prerequisite to achieve sustainable development and prosperity. We cannot make the development without involving the women in socioeconomic activities and bringing them into mainstream.
Mahpara Director Capacity Building Aurat Foundation said that her foundation was taking all tangible steps to reduce the gender gap in Pakistan by proactively supporting the development and empowerment of women. She said that we have over 175 NGOs and CBOs covering all of Pakistan campaigning and taking actions. We can't forget the men (the other side of the gender gap) and continue to help them change their behavior towards women, she added. She added that UAF step regarding promotion of culture of cycling among female students would bring long lasting impact.
Dr Mahrukh Saeed Khan from University of Auckland, New Zealand said that women role at family and in profession neither fully recognized nor accepted and overshadowed by the men. She said that soft loan scheme needs to be kicked for the women farmers to make them economical empowered. She also called for raising the literacy rate in the women and equip them vocational trainings and farming techniques.
Lady Farmer Abeera Tariq said that Islam attaches great importance to women and provide them excellent rights. She called for stepping up efforts for the women empowerment in the society. She said that we hardly find women in seed industry and marketing. And the lady farmers are facing obstacle to sale their produce in the marketing. The issue can be addressed by encouraging women in the sector.
Progressive Farmer Manzoor Thakar stressed upon the participants to take steps for raising awareness among the masses about importance of women empowerment. He said that the country was facing the different challenges for the women. He stressed upon the need to enhanced role of government, people and other stakeholder to address the women issue.
Dean Social Sciences Prof Dr Iqbal Zafar said that half of the population consists of women. He said that that the University was making all tangible steps to provide the modern facilities to the women. He said that women are facing challenges in the male dominant society.
ORIC Director Prof Dr Asif Ali said that women empowerment would also help in the poverty alleviation from the society. He said that the university students must serve the rural population by creating awareness regarding modern agricultural practices and women rights in order to make development in the every sphere of life.
Department Chairman Prof Dr Ashfaq Mann said that in the modern world, the women are standing with shoulder to shoulder to men in the socio-economic activities. He urged the women to prove their mettle in every sphere of life.
Dr Izhar A Khan said women consists of the half of the country population. He said that women were playing a vital role in the uplift of the agricultural sector. He said proportion of the persons engaged in the agricultural sector was higher among rural women (79.4%) as compared to rural men (60.8%).
Institute of Rural Home Economics Chairperson Dr Naheed Abbas said in the modern world, the women are standing with shoulder to shoulder to men in the socio-economic activities. She urged the women to prove their mettle in every sphere of life. Dr Farah Riaz from Institute of Rural Development said that the women need to explore their inbuilt leadership qualities. Dr Baber Shahbaz said that agriculture is the driver of growth of Pakistan economy and large number of women are involved in cotton-picking, wheat-harvesting, rice transplantation and dairy sectors.