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Women in Pakistan continue to face gender based violence.

ISLAMABAD -- Speakers at a national conference on Thursday lamented that despite being nearly half of its population, Pakistani women continue to be victims of gender based violence, early marriages and are denied the basic right to education, health and political participation.

These were some of the highlights of discussion among key panelists at the national conference Tabeer Hum, which was held to honour women in Pakistan as part of its national campaign on woman empowerment.

The conference, which was hosted by Oxfam Novib and supported by Danish and Netherland governments, hosted a discussion around the status of social, political and legal women reforms in the country.

Panel comprised policy, legal and religious experts and representatives from law enforcers, civil society and academia.

Ambassador of Denmark, Jesper Moller Sorensen and ambassador of the Netherlands, Marcel de Vink were also present, said a news release.

In his remarks, ambassador Sorensen highlighted that promoting gender equality was a key priority in Denmarks foreign policy and a consistent feature in its development and humanitarian assistance programmes.

He termed female empowerment as core driver of democratization stating that democracy was more likely to occur and flourish in nations with a longer history of educating girls.

"Every time a woman gets just one additional year of education, she will add 15% to her life income, which not only benefits herself but also her family and her community. History also shows that nations which have focused on attaining higher levels of female education, female labour force participation, and lower fertility rates have made greater social, economic as well as political progress" said Ambassador Sorensen.

Speaking at the occasion, the Netherlands ambassador to Pakistan, Marcel de Vink, in his remarks said his government had a strong conviction that equal rights and opportunities for women, and their full participation in society and decision-making, are vital for international security and stability, for prosperity, and for stable growth.

"Womens rights are human rights. Equality between men and women is one of the foundations of democracy and the rule of law."

The ambassador highlighted the importance of creating strong alliances with civil society, government policymakers, experts and with the public sector.

"Sharing experiences on various aspects of the challenges related to gender empowerment is inspiring and forms a key input for policy changes," he added.

Highlighting Pakistans legal status on women rights and women protection, key panelist Justice (retd.) Nasira Iqbal stressed the need for proper implementation of laws.

Ms. Nasira stressed that women in Pakistan need a greater share in decision making. Signatory to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Pakistan is bound to give 33 percent share to women in all decision making bodies including legislatures, judiciary, foreign and financial policies, services and admin tribunals, Ms. Nasira reiterated.

The conference also featured community activists from Sindh and Bajaur Agency who narrated their personal experiences and the struggles they undertook to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty and ignorance.

Speaking on behalf of Oxfam Novib, Mrs. Javeria Afzal, Interim Associate Country Director, Oxfam Novib, highlighted the role of empowered women in driving human development.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 3, 2015
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