ICCI for economic empowerment of women to achieve inclusive growth

ISLAMABAD: The government should take policy measures to increase the economic empowerment of women that would set the direction towards gender equality, poverty eradication, inclusive economic growth and enable the country to achieve sustainable development. This was said by Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) while addressing the last day of Roundtable Conference on Increased Economic Participation of Women Workers and GSP Plus Status organized by ICCI in collaboration with Trust for Democratic Education & Accountability and Women Workers Alliance.

Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that women were half of our total population and bringing more women in the mainstream of economy by increasing their share in the workforce was very important for the better future of the country. He said that women participation in the workforce in Pakistan was reportedly less than 25 percent while it was over 50 percent in many countries. He stressed that the government should take policy measures to increase women participation in the workforce that would have a positive impact on the economy. He said that the women should be provided easy access to education, finance and transportation that would increase their independence and economic empowerment. He lauded the efforts of Women Workers Alliance with employers, line departments and the parliament for creating more safe workplaces for women. He assured that ICCI would fully cooperate with the Women Workers Alliance to address the issues of women workers and improve their economic participation. He hoped that the collaboration between the Women Workers Alliance and ICCI would help to further strengthen Pakistan’s position in the EU market under the GSP Plus regime.

Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians said that Pakistan was not taking full benefit of zero duty tariff lines under EU’s GSP Plus for exports and stressed that more efforts should be made to increase exports under this facility that would also create new opportunities for women economic empowerment.

Ms. Aliya Hamza Malik Parliamentary Secretary Commerce said that the government was working on new laws to improve the conditions for working women and these legislative measures would provide them better protection at workplaces.

Wouter Plomp Ambassador of Netherlands appreciated the first of its kind joint effort of employers and women workers to improve the working conditions of working women in Pakistan. He said such efforts would be helpful in harnessing the potential of women and improve GDP growth of Pakistan. Mudasir Rizvi, Director Programs, Trust for Democratic Education & Accountability and others also spoke at the occasion.

ICCI and Women Workers Alliance signed a joint declaration of collaboration at the occasion for the betterment of working women and agreed to form Joint Working Groups of employers and women workers to improve workplaces for working women.

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