ISLAMABAD, June 8 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday urged the need to accelerate efforts for the economic empowerment of women and to bring them into the mainstream of the national economy.
The president said the latest information and communication technology tools could help in paving the way for women’s financial inclusion.
He expressed these views while addressing the 1st Business Women Excellence Awards, organized by the Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) to acknowledge and appreciate Pakistan’s successful women entrepreneurs, at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Addressing the ceremony, the president urged the need to economically empower women by encouraging them to participate in economic activities, improving their access to credit and finance to start their own businesses, and improving their access to branchless banking services.
He said that he was a great proponent of utilizing Pakistan’s huge youth bulge by providing them with quality and skill-based education to enable them to contribute to national development. He said that women, along with youth, remained the largest untapped resource, which needed to be fully harnessed for Pakistan’s socio-economic development.
The event was attended by Founder-President of IWCCI, Ms Samina Fazal, President IWCCI, Ms Naima Ansari, members of IWCCI, women entrepreneurs, members of the diplomatic community and senior officials of the government.
The president highlighted that steps had been taken to enhance women’s access to financial services and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was providing business loans to women entrepreneurs, however, the number of women availing these loans was low.
He said that the digital inclusion of women in the financial sector could help bring financial empowerment of women as they can market their products locally and internationally using the latest technology tools.
He called upon the members of the chambers of commerce across the country to make their chambers gender-balanced with the proportional representation of women.
He said that as they were the custodians of trade, business and investment, therefore, they should encourage their daughters and sisters and other relatives to come out of their homes and play an active role in running the business enterprises.
The president said that Hazrat Khadija (RA) was a working woman who had employed many men including our beloved Prophet (PBUH) to carry forward her trade. This, he added, should be a role model for all Muslim women.
He further said the mother of Moulana Mohammad Ali and Moulana Shoukat Ali was an active political figure whereas the wife and sister of Quaid Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah remained side by side with him during his entire political struggle to win a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.
He regretted that women stopped working after marriages and it was the collective responsibility of the society to encourage women to continue to work by providing them with a conducive and women-friendly environment at the workplace.
He said that it was unfortunate that in some parts of the country, women were being denied their inheritance and property rights.
He appreciated the fact that Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment was also working to safeguard women’s property and inheritance rights and was helping women get justice in case of the illegal occupation of their properties.
President IWCCI, Ms Naima Ansari also addressed the occasion and said that IWWCI was playing an active role in facilitating and encouraging women to start their own businesses besides helping them develop linkages with the business community.
Founder President of IWCCI, Ms Samina Fazil, said that women entrepreneurs were contributing towards the national development by creating employment opportunities for others and paying taxes to the Government.
Earlier, women entrepreneurs from different sectors were handed over business excellence awards trophies by president Dr Arif Alvi.