Karachi : First Lady Begum Samina Alvi has urged the need for women-friendly and harassment-free work environment so that women can work without fear and contribute to the development and prosperity of their families, organizations, and their country.

She added that it was the responsibility of the business community to make their workplaces women-friendly and provide them with support and necessary facilities to enhance their inclusion in the mainstream of economic sectors.

The First Lady expressed these views while addressing a ceremony to celebrate international women’s day at a private sector organization, in Karachi, today.

Speaking on the occasion, the First Lady said that without making women a part of businesses and productive workforce, Pakistan could not progress. She stated that those countries progressed that invested in the health and education of women and their empowerment.

She regretted that in Pakistan women’s representation in the labour force and mainstream socio-economic activities was much lower as compared to men.

She stressed the need to provide women with education, skills and employment opportunities to ameliorate this situation.

The First Lady also called for imparting marketable skills to women to make them financially independent.

She said that federal and provincial governments needed to make special efforts for women’s skill development, besides enacting better policies, ensuring their implementation, creating awareness about their rights, and ending gender-based discrimination from our society.

Begum Samina Alvi highlighted the need to use digital technologies for the financial inclusion of women. She said that digital technologies could not only help women gain new skills but also help improve their access to loans and financial services.

She said that women could offer their services internationally using online platforms and become financially independent. She underscored the need for improving women’s access to digital technologies and urged them to focus on self-education, skill development, and online work.

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Abid Saeed is a senior broadcast journalist with an extensive experience of print and electronic media with key focus on law & Justice, SDGs and youth development.