Govt aims to increase women entrepreneurs

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  • Half million women to be connected to the market by 2020, says commerce minister

Aiming to increase women’s participation in trade, Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, on Wednesday, said half a million women will be connected to the market by 2020.

Khurram Dastgir said this while addressing a seminar “SHE TRADES” organised by the ministry of commerce in collaboration with International Trade Center (ITC) here in a private hotel. ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez and IT Minister Anusha Rehman were also present at the seminar.

The commerce minister further said Pakistan must start viewing trade, business and economy through a gendered lens and provide specific opportunities to women to realise their potential and lift the economy up. “ Today’s seminar will go a long way in making a statement to the world that Pakistan stands firmly behind the commitments made under the “SHE TRADES” seminar to connect half a million women to the market by 2020 and also support new commitments for connecting one million women to the market by the same year,” said Dastgir.

The commerce minister said that SHE TRADES is a global initiative that seeks to empower women through trade and that it is a matter of pride that Pakistan, with an ever-increasing number of women entrepreneurs finding their way into global business, offers a huge potential in terms of increasing women’s participation in the international and domestic economies.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rehman, participating in a panel discussion, said it is not the duty of few women to work for the women empowerment instead it is everyone’s obligation to contribute to this larger global agenda of inclusiveness and women empowerment.

Anusha Rehman further said our government is working on this agenda of digital and financial inclusion. We have started special programmes under which 150 ICT labs will be established that will impart training to girls in coding and computing through Microsoft and would be able to earn an honourable livelihood while sitting in their homes.

Similarly, we are initiating a pilot project under USF for the women of underdeveloped areas and in the first phase, 30 thousand women registered with BISP will be provided with android phones with balance and training to materialise the digital inclusion, said the minister for IT and Telecom.

Anusha Rehman proposed that by using this platform, Ministry of IT is ready to work with Ministry of Commerce and Trade organisations for training of women in rural areas who work from their home to eliminate the role of middle man.

Arancha Gonzalez, who was a keynote speaker, said that the purpose of her visit to Pakistan and organising of this SHE TRADE seminar is to work with the government of Pakistan for the women’s economic empowerment.  She further said that Pakistani government must enact fair policies that are gender sensitive, ensure quality and accurate data system, secure government contracts for women, strike business deals with women and gave them market accessibility, unlock financial services for women and grant them ownership rights.

Arancha Gonzalez said that Pakistan has huge potential and as Pakistan has moved towards normalcy the time is ripe for the government to work for the empowerment of women through trade.