ISLAMABAD - President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday called for creating enabling environment to ensure women’s participation and inclusion in economic, business, trade, and industrial sectors on a fast-track basis.

The president expressed these views while talking to a delegation of the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peshawar (WCC&IP), led by its President Mrs Shahida Parveen, that called on him, at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Director General (Trade Policy), Ministry of Commerce and senior government officials also attended the meeting, a press release said.

The president said that women made up almost 50% of the country’s population and the provision of enabling conditions such as ensuring their safety and security at the workplace and providing quality education and skills to women should be the priority of the Government and society.

“Local traditions and practices regarding women’s property and inheritance rights need to be changed and women should be given all the property rights admissible to them as per our religion and the Constitution,” he stressed. He said recently, steps had been taken for their financial empowerment, further adding that legislation had been passed to give women their due share in inherited property.

He said that the law provided that if the property of a woman had been encroached upon, it would be vacated by the government.

The president also highlighted that commercial banks were providing business loans to women under favourable and easy terms and conditions and called upon the chambers of commerce around the country to help women entrepreneurs secure these loans to start their own businesses and improve upon the existing businesses.

He also urged WCC&IP to create linkages with other chambers of commerce for greater participation of women in other chambers of commerce and industry and businesses under their purview.

President also expressed his concerns that Pakistan had one of the lowest workforce participation rates for women in the world

The president also expressed his concerns that Pakistan had one of the lowest workforce participation rates for women in the world, which was sad and extremely alarming.

While quoting the example of Hazrat Khadeeja (RA), he said that there was no bar in Islam for women to participate in business, trade or other economic activities.

He said that Hazrat Khadeeja (RA)’s example should be used to overcome social resistance against women empowerment.

The president further said that the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection Against Harassment at Workplace (FOSPAH) had also been empowered to hear the cases of grievances of women even if such cases were already being heard by the Courts of Pakistan. He added that FOSPAH had been further authorized to send its reports and findings for the perusal of the Courts.

He urged the WCC&IP to motivate businesswomen to benefit from the programme launched by Facebook with the help of TEVTA Punjab for imparting training to the women and marketing their products.

He said that Amazon was another very effective platform which can be used by businesswomen to market their products.

The president appreciated the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peshawar for providing an effective and vibrant platform to help women enter business, trade and industry and for providing assistance to existing businesswomen to improve their businesses.