ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mian Kashif Ashfaq Sunday said that in countries with greater gender inequality, closing the gap in women’s labour force partici­pation could increase economic output by an average of 35 percent.

Talking to delegation of women en­trepreneurs led by renowned furniture designer Nida Ejaz, he said: “We have to narrow gender gap which he added is harming national as well global growth.” 

He said locking women out of eco­nomic opportunities is non-Islamic, unfair and also harms growth and resil­ience for all. “Over time, gender-sensi­tive macroeconomic and financial poli­cies will result in higher growth, greater economic stability and resilience, and lower income inequality—a dividend not just for women, but for everyone,” he added. He said out of 190 countries surveyed, the World Bank found that women were equal legal standing with men in just 12 countries which speaks of sorry state of affairs worldwide.

Mian Kashif Ashfaq said according to organisation for economic cooperation and development, gender based dis­crimination in social institutions costs the world economy $6 trillion but in re­cent years countries have reduced these costs through social and legal actions such as curbing underage marriages, criminalisation domestic violence and increasing the number of female elected officials. He said macro economic and fi­nancial policies affect women and men differently, often unintentionally. He said policy makers must help identify and remedy those biases by applying a gender lens to our main activities focus­ing towards maximum participation of women in every sphere of life for quick economic prosperity.

He said that he has offered full schol­arship to women with free food and hostel for imparting training in modern designs of furniture industry and will be absorbed on regular jobs after suc­cessful training. He said in all expos of Pakistan Furniture Council, women en­trepreneurs are fully encouraged for participation to showcase their products and special discount is also offered to them for stall reservations. Mian Kashif Ashfaq said no country could progress in any sector without active participation of women which constitutes 49 percent of total population of Pakistan. He said women can contribute significantly in cottage and small scale industrial units and government should offer them inter­est free loan to bring this segment of the society in the national mainstream.