A country with women constituting 49 percent of total population, only 26 percent are part of the labour force. With financial inclusion of women and girls, Pakistan could boost its GDP by 33 percent. These were the remarks of speakers at a youth dialogue on ‘Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future’ jointly organized by UN Women Pakistan, the United Nations entity for Gender Equality and the empowerment of Women, and National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) here on Friday.
The event was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which was ratified in 1995 and endorsed by 189 Governments at the 4th World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. However, real change has been agonizingly slow for majority of women and girls in the world and not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality even in 2020.
To review the progress made to date and identify challenges still to be addressed, UN Women is bringing together the next generations of women’s rights activists with the gender equality advocates and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the Beijing Platform for Action. Collectively, these change makers of all ages and genders can tackle the unfinished business of empowering women through a new, groundbreaking, multigenerational campaign ‘Generational Equality’.
The event, organized under the Generation Equality campaign, started with opening remarks by Dr. Nassar Ikram, Pro-Rector Research, Innovation and Commercialization (RIC), NUST. He gave an overview of NUST, highlighting its innovative initiatives to draw more young women into a technical field traditionally dominated by men, to provide them with a conducive environment and to help them succeed. “Education is the most important mean to empower women and girls and enable them to take forward the gender equality agenda,” he said.
His remarks were followed by a panel discussion which included Mr. Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director Asia and the Pacific, UN Women, who is on his first ever trip to Pakistan; Ms. Uzma Kardar, Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, Provincial Assembly Punjab; Ms. Maya Zaman, successful Transgender Entrepreneur, and Ms. Aqsa Ajmal, alumna of NUST, Lexus Design Awardee.