President calls for steps to women empowerment

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has underlined the need for a comprehensive awareness campaign with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders to inform and educate the female population of the country regarding steps taken by the government for the empowerment of the women and to urge them to fully utilize and profit from these initiatives of the government.
The President made these remarks during a meeting with the delegation of the Women Business Network, here at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on Friday. During the meeting, the President said that multiple products targeting women had been launched, which include opening bank accounts online without requiring women to visit bank branches and fulfilling cumbersome processes, Property Rights acts, which have made it mandatory for giving the inheritance to the women.
“Females are also being offered loans on easy terms and conditions”, he added. The President said that Benazir Income Support Program ( BISP) and Ehsaas programs were extremely effective and were playing a pivotal role in maintaining the data of the women population, providing them with financial stipends, helping them to open bank accounts and creating a digital communication network to communicate with the women of Pakistan through digital, SMS and other such services. The President said although there was a pressing need for taking more steps for empowering women both economically and financially and to encourage women to profit and benefit from the laws, programs and initiatives already in the field of empowerment of women. He expressed his deep concerns that although the banks have been offering preferred loans to women, however, only 2 to 5% of loans were being availed.
He called upon all the women’s networks and other relevant organizations in private and government sectors to take decisive action and roll out advocacy and awareness programs to advise the women to fully utilize these loans, which he said will play a pivotal role in their empowerment. The President said if Pakistan was to make progress, it needed to ensure that its women population was involved in the active economic stream, was empowered financially and economically and equipped with education and marketable skills through the existing skilled-based institutions and also benefiting from the free of cost training and education and programs offered online.
He said women parliamentarians, Chambers of Commerce, NGOs and advocacy groups should join hands to develop a comprehensive strategy to reach out to women at the grassroots level and equip them with the information and education for their self-empowerment. He said there was also a need to develop a comprehensive strategy and advocacy campaign to bring the women into the formal structure and elevate them to decision-making positions, which would encourage other women to follow suit.