The Game Changers – Journal
Women’s economic empowerment is not just a buzzword, it’s a game-changing concept. Women’s economic participation, financial inclusion and contributions to the workforce have a direct influence on the socio-economic outcomes, prosperity and growth, and democratic resilience of nations. Financial autonomy enables women to claim their free will in the private and public spheres of their lives. As financially empowered women, we can guarantee that this is true. SDG 5 and Pakistan’s main planning document, Vision 2025, focus on the economic empowerment of women. The logic and the arguments are clear.
The human, economic and business development gains of empowering women are substantial – it is the right and smart thing to do as it has been proven to benefit everyone. When more women are economically empowered, economies grow and nations are better placed to reap positive development results. Take the example of Razia Sultana. “With my husband’s salary as a factory worker, we were barely making ends meet. I started sewing soccer balls to raise my five children. Today, I run what is emerging as an international uniform / sportswear production company. My clients include football and basketball teams in the United States and rugby clubs in Australia. Starting 25-30 coins per month, I now earn 350 coins per month, making a handsome profit of $ 1,000. I did not allow the empowerment I gained to stay within the confines of my home. I have trained over 200 other local women.
Thanks to increased access to economic resources, Razia was able to access better education for her children, go beyond her daily livelihood and, through her skills and learning, work to break the vicious cycle. poverty and start his own business.
One woman’s story gave impetus for social change in the lives of other women and the community.
Razia’s story is typical of many women-owned businesses in Pakistan. They tend to be smaller in size and fall into the category of micro, small and medium enterprises. For many women, entrepreneurship paves the way for economic empowerment, and it is incumbent on the global community, including businesses, banks and governments, to help create the conditions that allow it. Government procurement spending ranges between 15 percent and 30 percent of countries’ GDP, and corporate government procurement accounts for an average of 64 percent of business spending.
In my role (Sharmeela Rassool) as the national representative of UN Women Pakistan, I look forward to engaging with multiple interlocutors to explore how we can together make our purchases more gender sensitive.
To achieve women’s economic empowerment, efforts must go beyond increasing women’s participation in the workforce or providing women with more quota-based participation opportunities, for example. example in parliament. This should include providing women with control over their time through the division of domestic and family chores, control over resources including inheritance and property rights, equal value for equal work – closing the gap gender pay. A gradual shift in female employment trends is a positive wave that is slowly sweeping through Pakistan. Women now work in banking, journalism, tourism, hotels, IT, etc. and this is visible in labor markets, especially in urban centers and on online job portals. In the EU-Erasmus scholarship program for Pakistan, where applicants are selected solely on the basis of merit, an equal number of men and women were selected even though there were three times as many men applying, which indicates the high success rate of women candidates.
As a female diplomat at the head of the European Union delegation to Pakistan, I (Androulla Kaminara) believe that Covid-19 has revealed structural inequalities in all areas, from health to the economy, from security to social protection, which has disproportionately and negatively affected women. . The hard-won gains for women’s rights and empowerment are being reversed. Within the EU, responding to the pandemic is not only about reducing long-standing inequalities, but also about building a resilient world with women at the center of economic recovery. Thus, through our collaborative efforts with government and civil society, we are focusing on rebuilding livelihoods and improving vulnerable communities, especially women and youth. Our next seven-year work plan also puts women and girls at the center of our programming, as this has been proven to produce the fastest development growth for all. I think growth is best when it is inclusive and sustainable.
The economic empowerment of women is indeed the way to go. Empowering women should be at the center of the agenda of government and development partners, because the development case is clear: when women are empowered, nations become more prosperous, the region more stable and the world a better place. place to live.
Sharmeela Rassool is the national representative of UN Women Pakistan. Androulla Kaminara is EU Ambassador to Pakistan.
Posted in Dawn, le 16 June 2021