Issues and Challenges

Education and Training of Women — Lifeline to National Developement

Women in general live in a patriarchal society in many parts of the globe, but in recent years advancements have been made to voice out problems faced by women around the world. Countries like Pakistan have progressed in adapting new approaches to educate, train and empower its women. No doubt, women are working day and night to leave their mark in their respective fields but it is also imperative to recognize that they are facing multiple hindrances, not just at home but at work as well.
Women have come a long way from being confined to the four walls of a house; they have fought and beaten the conservative stereotype. They are moving towards an era where their education, health and security are given due importance. In Pakistan, steps like the abolition of dowry have worked in favour of women and are aiding them to increase their capacity by allowing them to make choices for themselves and work towards building a better life not just for themselves but for their children as well. This has resulted in helping several women in gaining financial stability as well. Assisting women with the help of education and training in skills is critical because it helps to reduce unemployment, poverty and promotes development in the society by diminishing many ills such as early marriages, forced marriages, marital rape, domestic abuse, discrimination, etc. Such problems not only upset the peace of the society but also thwart the overall harmony of a country. Many of these problems are also directly linked with high illiteracy rate and unemployment. If we, as a nation, encourage women to opt for training and acquiring further education then we may progress towards reducing the abovementioned problems.
Women need to feel empowered whether they choose to stay at home, work from home or pursue a career. Therefore, it is important to setup a strong support system that allows them to take up leadership roles and work in harmony with their male colleagues. Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) are an important part of moulding a woman’s personality, which teaches her to use her talent and skill in the best possible way. Such workshops should be a part of every workspace so that women of all backgrounds are able to learn and execute ideas to the best of their abilities. This will also allow them to share responsibilities and manage everything in a better way not just at work but at home as well. PDWs will further help in reducing the gap between gender and class; they will help acquaint each gender with given responsibilities and assist them in understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Such measures will then provide equal opportunities for women by curbing gaps and providing them opportunities to achieve goals not just in the field but in their personal and social life as well.
Intensive training programs for women in all spheres of life is the need of the hour as this will demonstrate the importance of their involvement in the country’s socio-economic development. We need to help them recognize that they need to incorporate leadership skills to move forward and that they need to come forward and make their own space because no one is going to hand them opportunities on a silver platter.
As a society, we also need to make both men and women realize why it is important for a nation to educate, train and empower its women. Their involvement in creating opportunities in the economy is vital for a nation’s development. Equal opportunities for both women and men will allow the country to flourish beyond imagination. Breaking the barrier of social and gender discrimination will also provide the youth to tap in to their skills in the field they are best fit for. PDWs are not only a platform to enhance self-confidence in men and women but also to raise awareness about a healthy and safe work environment by attaining work-life balance. Education and training will also make women to think and behave rationally, it will help them to survive independently, as well as protect themselves from narrow-mindedness.
The literacy rate of Pakistani women is 51.8%, compared to men, which is 72.5%. We as a nation need to close this gap. It is duly noted that women have to face multiple challenges including social, economic and cultural barriers that stop them from pursuing higher education, thus wasting their talent. We need to inculcate vocational training programs and career counselling at lower levels as well as higher levels to groom the men, women and youth so that they can make better decisions for themselves in future. Parents and guardians also need to be educated because without their support, progress and development will be difficult to achieve. Employing the untapped human capital will help boost the economy of Pakistan and help in building a happier and safer environment for our children. HH

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