Women have come a long way to get their rights accepted: Shazia Marri

3Islamabad, March 08: Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme – Ms. Shazia Marri has said that Women have traveled a long distance to this stage where they are accepted as an equal members of the society, but there is still a lot that needs to be achieved. She expressed these view while addressing at International Women’s Day Seminar arranged by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation held in Islamabad. She stressed the need for a conducive environment for women in the society so that they can contribute constructively in the progress of Pakistan. Ms. Marri said domestic violence is a reality in Pakistan.

Underlining the importance of Women Day, she said it is imperative for women to fight for their rights. This, she added, will stop the day when women will be able to join every aspect of human life without fear of being harassed, touched, pushed against the wall and pulled down. She urged everyone to work for the creation of such a society.

Ms. Marri said Patriarchy is a global phenomenon. She said Islam provides ample guarantees to women against all forms of discriminations, violence and exploitation; However, it is unfortunate that religion has been used, time and again, to protect those who carryout gruesome acts of violence against women.

Talking about the role of society, she urged the people in power to play a better role in order to protect women. She desired a conducive environment in which women can contribute constructively to the society. She quoted a study from International Labour Organization that by closing the gender gap by 25 per cent, Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can increase by 9 percentile which is essential for socio-economic mobility of the country. She also quoted the famous quote of Quaid-e-Azam who said “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you”.

The Minister informed the audience that Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) is playing a key role in providing financial cushion to the vulnerable and marginalized segment of our society i.e. women. Today, BISP is providing cash disbursement to 9 million women head of families, she told the audience. Apart from this, BISP is also giving awareness sessions during pregnancy and antenatal health checkups to ensure mother’s health.