Good Morning, Respected Chair and Honorable Delegates, as the great Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, said “Unless you put women at the center of the development process, unless you move aggressively towards gender equality, it’s not just that you are doing the wrong thing in terms of human rights, you are doing the wrong thing economically,” Pakistan’s national vision for women empowerment is guided by the words of our founding father, the Quaid-e-Azam, who said that “no nation could ever be worthy of its existence that could not take its women along with the men and no struggle could ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.”
Our Constitution guarantees full participation of women in all sectors of national life. The Government of Pakistan has taken various steps to promote and protect the women’s political, economic, social and cultural rights. Extensive steps have been taken to eliminate different forms of discrimination against Pakistani women. Today, Pakistani women proudly participate in all fields of life from agriculture to industries, businesses to armed forces and from legislation to policy making.
The Government of Pakistan is proud to say that it not only had the first woman Prime Minister of the Muslim world but also has the distinction of having the first woman speaker of the National Assembly in the entire Muslim world. In Pakistan an active Woman Caucus of 90 women parliamentarians with representation beyond party lines works at the national level. Pakistan’s commitment to addressing women issues is evident from a range of legislative and administrative measures that the Government has taken, in particular the recent legislations against acid crimes, anti-women customary practices and harassment of women at the workplace.
In 2012 the Parliament passed the National Commission on the Status of the Women Bill providing for its complete financial and administrative autonomy. The Commission is a national watchdog body to review, monitor and propose laws, policies and measures for protection and promotion of women’s rights as equal citizens. Government is also playing a key role in ending violence against children through the South Asian initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC), which is currently focusing on issues pertaining to the early marriages of girls.