In Pakistan, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated the same month we celebrate Pakistan Day to commemorate the Lahore Resolution that led to shifting gears of the freedom struggle by the Muslims of the Subcontinent. The founding fathers had a dream about how the citizens of the nation would live and contribute to national life in the new country; women were to play just as important a role as men in this context. So to celebrate IWD in the same month should also serve as a reminder for Pakistani women that all the ideals that are enunciated by various campaigns for this day are the same that were envisioned by our founding fathers for the women of this country, and that makes it our duty to our country that we empower ourselves to help our country progress and develop.
IWD is celebrated every year on March 8th to pay homage to all women around the world who are making use of their abilities to shape and improve the world in various roles. The celebration of this day is aimed at recognizing the capabilities that the Almighty has endowed women with, and to ensure that those women who are lagging behind know that they could be so much more if only they recognize their strength and decide to make use of it. This is a day to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate achievements, acts of courage and determination by ordinary women along with the appreciation of the importance of women in society, their influence and their issues and concerns. In Pakistan too, IWD is a celebration of all the Pakistani women who play not only an essential role inside their homes but also contribute to every sphere of national life.
Pakistan finds itself in really dire straits today, where every last citizen – man and woman – needs to contribute in whatever capacity they can to ensure that we emerge as a proud, peaceful and developed country. At the moment Pakistan finds itself facing many challenges, and while we tackle them as a united nation, Pakistani women have to be steadfast in carrying out their responsibilities and work shoulder to shoulder with men, to ensure peace, security, stability and prosperity for Pakistan. The need of the hour is for women to take on a lead role, at individual and collective level, instead of sitting on the side lines. The most important thing in this regard is for women to feel empowered, so that they can rise to the challenges that confront us today for a bright future for this generation as well as the coming generations.
This IWD should not just be a commemoration of the courageous and resilient women of Pakistan, but also a resolution by us as a society that women will be provided with and ensured access to equal opportunities, so that more women can play their roles more effectively and successfully. We live in a global culture of ‘women empowerment’ where the Pakistani woman has to realize her potential and play a lead role because she is a role model, carrying great values, and a religion and culture that emphasize education, care, tolerance, equality and non-discrimination.
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