Marvi participates in World Bank advisory council

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: At the invitation of the World Bank, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Marvi Memon participated in the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development in Washington DC on Tuesday.

Marvi Memon is the only Pakistani, who has served on the Council since its establishment in 2011. The Advisory Council is the main consultative body composed of leaders from client and donor countries, private sector and civil societies, helping the World Bank Group promote gender equality, according to a message received here from Washington. . The theme of discussion for this year was sexual harassment.  The conference was inaugurated by Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, followed by Ms Caren Grown, Senior Director Women at the Bank. Ms Georgieva thanked the participants for joining the global effort for women empowerment.

Ms Grown, in her remarks, warmly commended Ms Memon for her phenomenal work for women empowerment and poverty alleviation in Pakistan on a massive scale through the BISP platform. Ms Grown further informed that the Bank was working on mapping/preparing a database on women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

CabinetmMinisters of Canada, Denmark, and Paraguay and chief executive officers (CEOs) of Oxfam, Global Fund for Women, and UN Women, inter alia, attended the event. David Miliband, President of International Rescue Committee and Former Foreign Secretary of UK, also participated in the event through video-conference.

DFID Minister Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, took part in the event as a special guest.

Ms Memon, in her presentation, highlighted the progress made by Pakistan in its stride for women empowerment while acknowledging the daunting challenges and shortcomings in fully achieving gender equality.

She commented that the law against sexual harassment and the role of Federal Ombudsman for Protection of Women against Harassment in work places was helpful in promoting women protection and empowerment.

In this regard, she underscored salient areas of BISP’s interventions at national level made more effective and fruitful with the help of media and others.

To contextualize the increasing awareness in Pakistan about women issues, Ms Memon read out a tweet by a young  Pakistani man, who exhorted other men to join the #MeToo campaign to support not only women but also encourage and  empower them to speak up.

She underscored that the debate surrounding women empowerment was dominating the cyber space in Pakistan in the wake of MeToo campaign.

Ms Memon suggested that in view of the importance of the gender issue, the Council should interact more frequently than once in a year.