ISLAMABAD, Nov 13 (APP): First Lady Samina Arif Alvi Friday said no nation could achieve development without mainstreaming of the women, who made around 50 percent of Pakistan’s population.
Addressing the opening ceremony of a fashion show held here to promote local embroidery work, the First Lady said even Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also believed that no struggle could ever succeed without the women participating side by side with the men.
She applauded Behbud Association, a non-profit organization for holding the event, besides providing employment to thousands of women artisans for over 50 years at the grassroots level and reaching out to the underprivileged women in urban slums.
The colourful embroidery works were displayed by 12 beautiful models, who walked on the ramp to exhibit colours and beauty of the needle work, including block printing, knitting, crochet and lace work accompanied by kids clad in traditional and knitted dresses.
The First Lady hoped that such works would help promote not only the rich and vibrant culture of Pakistan but also showcase the skills and talent of the women.
The event would go a long way to help women gain financial independence and contribute to their empowerment, besides promoting the art and artisan as well as projecting the women, who had worked tirelessly to keep the craft alive, he added.
The First Lady called for special focus on education, health and vocational training of the women, besides giving them confidence to come forward and play their role more constructively in the society.
Mentioning the low literacy rate and lesser women participation in the labour force, she stressed the need to encourage women’s role in economic activities.
She also called for taking advantage of Internet and communications technology to impart education and training to the women through online classes and distant learning.
“We need to provide Internet facilities to our women so that they can gain valuable skills and contribute to the uplift of their families and the country. Similarly, women can work from the comfort of their homes. We need to come forward with innovative solutions to educate our women, especially those in the far-flung areas of the country where literacy rate is low, and where women do not know to use the latest technology,” she remarked.
Begum Samina Alvi urged the role of private sector, civil society and government to increase the employment opportunities for women, ensure their employment quota, arrange free-of-charge vocational training in local embroideries, free healthcare, counselling, and education for their children. Those steps would help in the mainstreaming of women, she added.
She also took a round of the stalls set up at the venue and interacted with the women entrepreneurs as well as the artisans.
Earlier in her address, President of Behbud Association Abida Malik said since its establishment in 1965, the Association had skill trained thousands of women to make them financially and socially independent.
She said the exhibition was aimed at portraying the 11 indigenous needle works, besides recognizing the women with needle and thread.
Serena Hotel’s Chief Executive Officer Aziz Bolani also lauded the Behbud Association for their inspiring contribution to promote local needle work and empower the people living below poverty line. He said Pakistan was blessed with immense talent but all what needed was the hand-holding.