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ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha said women’s contribution can enhance the country’s income by 25 per cent and there is a need to create an enabling environment to strengthen and encourage them to participate in every field.

While addressing the “Regional Seminar for the Asia Pacific Region Parliaments on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the minister said that women in leadership can play a pivotal role in the country’s development and prosperity. She said that a country could not move forward unless women contribute to economic development.

The minister said that there were many countries where wage discrimination existed on the basis of gender and highlight the importance of proper legislation to protect the rights of women.

She said setting the legal framework was just one step on the ladder, adding that creating an environment which will motivate women to come and participate in the labour force is the second important step.

The minister said that although at this point in time, Pakistan might not be very high up in the gender development index or the gender equality index internationally. However, the trend of women’s participation in labour was on the up and Pakistani women had been coming into territories which traditionally were men-dominated.

She said Pakistani women could be seen as pilots, economists, doctors, and teachers, even politicians and parliamentarians, which is encouraging.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Syeda Nausheen Iftikhar headed the session on “Women at the Center of Development Agenda” at the Third Regional Seminar for the Asia-Pacific Region Parliaments on achieving the (SDGs).

In her opening remarks, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights apprised the session that women’s right to work and rights at work are hampered in the Asia-Pacific Region by high levels of informal and vulnerable employment. She said that women made up nearly 40 per cent of the workforce in 20 developing Asian countries but only 14.4 per cent of them held senior managerial positions compared with the global average of 27.9 per cent.

Representative of Women Parliamentary Caucus Shahid Rehmani, while addressing the session, said that the Caucus took steps to ensure rights to women, transgenders, and persons with special needs. She said 70 per cent of the business of the parliament is run by women.

Delegates from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Iran gave comments, shared their views, and steps taken by their respective governments to ensure women’s empowerment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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