LAHORE: To mark the International Women’s Day, UNDP in Pakistan through its Punjab SDGs Support Unit organised a webinar on “Closing Pakistan’s Gender Gaps through the Economic Empowerment of Women”. It was jointly organised with Milkar Pakistan.
The webinar aimed to highlight the importance of achieving economic independence for women in Pakistan and suggest measures to overcome structural barriers as well as provide actionable policy recommendations to close the gender gap in Pakistan.
According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, Pakistan is ranked third last in closing its gender gap. This means it stands at 151 out of the 153 countries. These pre-existing structural inequalities have exacerbated with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, where women overall and especially those in low-skilled informal jobs have been disproportionately affected.
“In line with Quaid’s vision for Pakistan, the economic empowerment of Pakistani women is essential because they form over 50% of the population and if they lag behind, we as a country can never prosper,” said Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming and Women Development, Punjab Chairperson Uzma Kardar.
It provided a platform to engage a panel of highly experienced gender experts and policy practitioners to hold cross-sector consultations on a diverse set of thematic areas.
The 90-minute virtual discussion underscored the need for women’s economic empowerment to ensure the sustainable economic growth of Pakistan, the legal and policy reforms required for inclusion of women in the economy, protection of women’s rights in the informal sector, mitigating the gendered impacts of COVID-19 and the private sector’s role to help the government address structural barriers for the economic emancipation of women in Pakistan.
Aside from Kardar, the speakers included Punjab School Education Secretary Sarah Aslam, Rah Center for Management & Development Gender Adviser/CEO Fauzia Viqar, Nestle in Pakistan and Afghanistan Corporate Affairs Head Waqar Ahmad and international gender strategy specialist Salman Sufi, among others.
You can watch the webinar here.