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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi said that the digital and financial inclusion, safe environment and good health were the key factors to contribute to empowerment of the women in a society.

The president expressed these views, while addressing the launching ceremony of the National Gender Data Portal, here on Thursday.

The president said it was a must to go back to our roots when Islam had liberated women from exploitation and provided her inheritance rights some 1,500 years ago.

He said there could be no empowerment sans right in inheritance and financial inclusion. He said that the laws in Pakistan always protected women’s inheritance rights, which had been further ensured by empowering the offices of federal ombudsmen, which would ensure her inheritance right as well as retrieval of her grabbed property.

The president said the West had granted women their rights not more than a 100 years ago as prior to that, in the UK, the woman as well as all her belongings used to be considered the man’s property.

Referring to a higher dropout rate of girls from schools, he said it was society’s responsibility to provide them a safe environment also keeping in view the cultural and traditional norms.

He said that it was also equally essential to protect women’s health by avoiding frequent pregnancies as infant and maternal mortality would never let the women empower.

He also called for providing safer public space to women for their fearless movement to and from educational institutes or work places. President Alvi, who earlier launched the portal, told the gathering that the government was about to start disbursing cash assistance to women through their bank accounts, which would provide her a better control over the money besides increasing her value in the family.

He said the government and the society including chambers should arrange employment for the educated women and skill training for illiterate to enable them sells out their products in the markets or through e-marketing.

Reiterating the importance of the data, the president however disagreed with Pakistan’s “inaccurate” ranking for gender gap but he simultaneously also expressed his concern about the situation and called for the remedial measures for women inclusion and empowerment.

The president mentioned the government’s pro-women initiatives such as easy loans by banks considering the women more reliable in repayment.

Chairperson of National Commission on Status of Women Nilofar Bakhtiar apprised the gathering of the successful ongoing 16 days of activism on violence against women. She lauded the active participation of the people in South Punjab, tribal areas, Sindh and Balochistan.

She disagreed with the country’s international ranking on gender gap and hoped the portal would help provide correct data to report the correct situation. Regarding the cases of violence against women, she said the Covid-related frustration among men owing to unemployment, and other economic issues could also be among the reasons.

Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nabeel Munir said Pakistan’s commitment for women empowerment was derived from the religion which also reflected in its policies.

He said Pakistan’s women were engaged in every forum having contributed to the highest offices like prime minister, National Assembly speaker, and top positions in military. He said the portal would provide accurate data and ensure better coordination among federating units and leading to a better reporting on international obligations and for decision making.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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