5th National Women at Work Festival kicks off in Islamabad

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Three women parliamentarians graced the 5th National Women at Work Festival held in Islamabad to celebrate the work of Pakistani women and support their empowerment

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ISLAMABAD – The 5th National Women at Work Festival kicked off on Sunday with a tree-plantation drive at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).

Despite a rainy day, a large number of women students and many faculty members were present to welcome the three women parliamentarians, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Najma Hameed, and Senator Sitara Ayaz who were the guests of honour on the occasion.

The 5th National Women at Work Festival celebrates the work of women and support their empowerment. The festival was held in the same week of International Women’s Day – a day to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of the country.

The event was organized in connection with the festival, an annual public advocacy and outreach event of the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) to commemorate the International Women’s Day. The tree-plantation was supported by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (IESE).

“Women have played extremely rewarding role right from the independence of Pakistan to its democratic development and economic growth. We need to remember and celebrate the women’s role and contribution that has been significant in our social and economic development” said Munir Ahmed, Festival Director and the Director Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan). He added that, women’s work is vital for a fast-paced development in all sphere of life. We need to give all possible opportunities to women to express their skills and potential to prove to be a vibrant and active citizen.

Senator Nuzhat Sadiq appreciated the Pakistan government’s appointment of 9 women ambassador – first time in the Pakistan diplomatic history. She emphasized the need of women state ambassadors who can highlight women’s professional and social status and the issues concerning them at the international level.

Highlighting the changing role of women in Pakistani society, she said: “I am a great admirer of working women. I want to see them working on positions where only men excel. We should encourage rural women to start small businesses such as dairy farm, tailoring because such women entrepreneurs boost the economy.”

All the three parliamentarians urged young students to pay special attention to climate change. Senator Nuzhar Sadiq appreciated the increasing awareness towards environment and climate change in our society.

Senator Sitara Ayaz said “We are living in a geographically jeopardizing location where climate change impact turns in disasters and calamities. Women suffer the most from climate change being the household runners. Recent examples are the Thar Desert famine and Karachi heat-wave. We should start devising plans right now or we will pay tomorrow by moving masses further down the poverty line.” While talking about responding to climate change as nation, she said government plays its role but private sector especially women and youth should participate as well.

5th National Women at Work Festival kicks off in Islamabad

Senator Sitara Ayaz also urged students to start projects based on the formula “reduce, reuse and recycle” on pilot basis at different places.

Commenting on the women-friendly legislation in Pakistan, Senator Sitara Ayaz said, “Laws are there to help women suffering from harassment, rape, violence and disparity issues. But, people and even focal persons in police and courts are not aware how to file cases and carry on with proceedings. Policies and laws have been formulated but implementation remains a big challenge.”

Senator Najma Hameed said that hard and consistent work would lead the youth to significant destinations. “Our young women are equally talented and potential as of their male counterparts. We need to provide them opportunities to express their talent. She said women’s sensitization on environment and climate change impact would bring better results as they are more caring than men.”

National Women at Work Festival was first started in 2012 to commemorate the International Women’s Day with the objectives to promote and mainstream the work of the development partners on the women rights, empowerment, mainstreaming the decent work, practices to wipe off violence against women, and to promote and strengthen gender policy advocacy and governance.

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