PR No.55 Message From MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik Secretary women’s Parliamentary caucus On The Occasion Of “International Women’s Day” (8th March, 2016) Islamabad: March 7, 2016

Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah emphasized on gender equality from the very genesis of Pakistan’s freedom struggle and integrated this ideal within the formation of the state. He consistently advocated for gender equality and wished to see women as equal partners in all walks of life. He declared in Muslim Aligarh University India on March 10, 1940: “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners,…let us try to raise the status of our women according to our Islamic ideas and standards. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable conditions in which our women have to live you would take your women along with you as comrades in every sphere of life,” Gender equality is, thus central to the vision of Pakistan’s development process. It is imperative to address gender equality in line with Pakistan’s national and international commitments across the three main pillars of development and empowerment of women including socio-economic, legal and political empowerment by primarily focusing on health, literacy, and gender based violence.

Despite legal framework and efforts towards women empowerment, they remain excluded, disadvantaged, and invisible in most countries across the globe. One of the main reasons, apart from low literacy rates, lack of access to productive resources etc, is the undermined involvement of men in advocacy and implementation of these frameworks. Men have a crucial role to play in preventing physical and sexual violence, ensuring women’s access to education, and their socio-economic and political rights and opportunities. In a patriarchal society such as Pakistan’s where men are largely given the roles of being the gate-keepers, decision-makers, custodians of family and community virtues it is imperative to view and engage men and boys as active agents in promoting gender equality and prevention against gender-based violence.

On this year’s international women’s day, let us all, men and women, together pledge for parity in order to become the strength of each other for a prosperous, healthy and a brighter future for our children as well as our nations!!!… And on behalf of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in Pakistan, I pledge to work towards parity and a stronger gener responsive legislative business that aims towards the fulfillment of women’s aspirations for equal opportunities in every sphere of their socio-economic cultural and political lives!

Let me at this point as the strong, dynamic and wonderful women and girls of our country to have faith and a sense of confidence – the future is there!!!

Pakistan Zindabad!

Women Parliamentarians, Pa’indabad