Importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in in development and progress of a country cannot by stressed enough. In this regard education and healthcare are two of the most important factors. Healthy, educated women are absolutely vital for a more productive workforce. In addition, the physical environment in which women are expected to make their contribution also needs to be grounded in our societal norms and traditions to be conducive to their participation. Ensuring a safer and more rewarding environment is definitely going to pave the way for a developed Pakistan, as economic and social development are strongly elevated when women enter the workforce.
The efforts in this regard need to be done at individual, organizational and national levels with involvement of women at each level. It needs to be stressed here that while there are numerous accomplished women in our country who serve as example and inspiration for those who are less fortunate, involvement of women is also needed in policy and decision-making in addition to being required at the very basic level of creating awareness as well as being aware, and demanding rights that are ensured by law. Moreover, as a society too we need to shirk off and evolve many of the traditions that attach stigma to or impede female participation in unconventional roles.
Economically Pakistan is at a point where we cannot afford to leave behind almost half of our workforce; we have to come out of our stagnation at a faster pace than we were, given the situation that we find ourselves in. The need of the hour is to make sure that all necessary measures are taken to educate our girls to prepare them for the challenges that they will have to face as they enter practical life. Health is also very important in this regard and so it is important to provide easily accessible healthcare facilities and information about healthier practices with respect to food and general hygiene to protect one’s health.
Individuals and institutions need to bring about awareness for societal change, as well as to ensure implementation of laws that protect women and girls from violence and discrimination. This has to be coupled with initiatives to promote public services that respond to women’s needs, ensure women’s access to economic opportunities, and build women’s engagement in public decision-making at national and local levels.
Women’s participation is an important ingredient in achieving an equitable, peaceful and more prosperous society. The articles in our current issue are a reflection of this thought, where we have tried to highlight the contributions of women in different areas of life, while at the same time throwing light on the issues that affect female contribution along with offering some suggestions as to how to deal with them. HH
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