Women empowerment, education through Digital literacy to revolutionise Pakistan's economy: Shazia Marri

January 26, 2023. Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Chairperson BISP, Ms. Shazia Marri on Thursday said the women empowerment and education through Digital literacy would revolutionise Pakistan's economy and GDP at an unprecedented level.  The Federal Minister was the Chief guest on the occasion flanked by SAPM on Finance, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, CEO, NRSP Dr. Rashid Bajwa, and Chairman NRSP, Shoaib Sultan Khan. The National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) organised the closing ceremony of national workshop to disseminate the results of Internet Dost and Internet Zabardast projects supported by Google.org the philanthropic arm of Google.

Addressing the ceremony the Minister said this is definitely a revolution that Pakistan needs through digital literacy and training on internet's positive and constructive usage. The SAPM after listening to the success stories of the two female beneficiaries of Internet Dost project said these two smart and talented women of Pakistan Aqsa Abbasi and Kaneez Fatima told us their success stories achieved through the initiative of Google and NRSP.  "You have changed the lives of your families and communities and I am thankful to you for coming here after facing all odds."

Ms. Marri also presented her example as a woman bringing change in her constituency by winning the National Assembly (NA) by-election through direct vote and brought a revolution against the prevailing old taboos and ill mindset. "Google is the IT sector of the world and want to appreciate it's role as it has emerged as a household name in the world," the Minister said.

Appreciating the testimonials of the project beneficiaries, she said, "I am proud of the language of women in the testimonials which shows a visible change among them." She emphasised that the role of a father is crucial for building strong women to change societies. "We know to excel despite problems and challenges as the women in Pakistan face huge challenges and problems and it's not easy for them to reach this level."

She also requested NRSP and Google to have such ceremonies in the rural areas of project sites, so that the local masses could observe and learn from them.  Ms. Marri mentioned that the Article 34 of the Constitution says, "The state will have to bring women in all strata of state." The IMF study claims that Pakistan GDP may rise to 33% if women workforce number is leveled with that of men. Moreover, the ILO study claims a GDP increase upto 9% amounting $139 billion if 25% women workforce was increased as par with men, she noted. "Women equality will benefit country's progress and women empowerment will lead to contribution in it's GDP growth. It's the potential that scares a typical mindset which needs to be defeated. We need to join heads for a resilient Pakistan in all spheres," she ended.

Rashid Bajwa,  CEO NRSP in his remarks said the NRSP about a year back on February 8th, 2022 celebrated safe internet day and launched Internet Dost initiative. "The NRSP is well aware of the digital growth and it's access to the masses. However, mobile banking, and digital marketing have enermous opportunity for Pakistani youth to progress." He added that one of the objective was to reduce digital divide in the country that was huge in terms of male and female population cohorts.