Strategic dialogue on “Empower rural women – End hunger & poverty”

First Event 8 March: Organized by Inter-Agency Group on Gender Equality – at ILO Auditorium Islamabad; Second Event 9 March: Organized by Pakistan Workers Federation – at ILO Auditorium Islamabad.

First Event 8th March: To commemorate the International Women’s Day 2012, the Inter-Agency Group on Gender Equality (IAG-GE) organized a Strategic Dialogue on “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger & Poverty”. ILO provided technical and logistic support for this event. While cognizant of the broader global theme, “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future” the Dialogue included few sessions on this as well.

  • Panel for the Dialogue comprised of Mr Timo Pakala, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Francesco d’Ovidio, Country Director ILO, Mr Rabbi Royan, Rep UNFPA, Mr Siamak Mogaddam, Rep UN-Habitat, Dr. Saba Gul Khattak, Human Rights Activist and Ms Shadia Yousaf Bakhait, Rep UNIDO/Co-chair CCI. Around 90 participants from various UN and Donor agencies participated in the event.
  • Mr Timo Pakala, UN Resident Coordinator, opened the Dialogue and stressed upon equal opportunities for women in all UN Programmes. He particularly mentioned that “Gender & Social Justice” has been adopted as one of the Strategic Priority Areas (SPA) while designing the 2nd generation Joint Programmes (OP-II).
  • Ms Shadia Bakhait, being co-chair of the Cross-Cutting Issues (CCI) Working Group, welcomed participants to the IWD and highlighted the role of IAG-GE. She informed that the GE Group has recently expanded its scope to act as a stimulator for gender mainstreaming in UN system and has developed an annual work plan with clear indicators and milestones. She stressed upon the economic empowerment of women which leads to the social and political empowerment.
  • Mr Francesco d’Ovidio, Country Director ILO, spoke on the decent work deficits of rural women in Pakistan and highlighted key issues confronted by women to enter and access decent employment opportunities in the country, both in rural and urban settings. He also highlighted the message of ILO’s Director General on the International Women Day that recognized the important contribution of rural women across the world to the well-being of their families and communities and in sustaining societies and economies
  • Dr Saba Gul Khattak highlighted the situation of young women in political and leadership arena and mentioned that due to the huge influx and pressure of international and regional politics, Pakistan’s politics is marred with violence and impunities which needs to be reformed. Due to inappropriate representation, the resource allocation for development sector is largely lopsided and capacity of state to deliver has been eroded. Change is not possible unless stereotypical roles and power structures are reformed.
  • Mr Rabbi Royan stressed on minimizing the fiscal divide between rich and poor and advocated for equitable resource allocation and development. He highlighted issues of adolescent girls (10-19 years) and their specific issues in growth opportunities. He stressed to invest in health, education and labour-market reforms.
  • Mr Siamak Mogaddam paid tribute to women of the world and highlighted women’s issues particularly with reference to ‘crises response’. He shared key lessons learnt during recent flood-response – particularly related to women’s inability to access social safety nets.
  • A few young ladies from Punjab narrated their success stories in connecting with each other through a Y-PEER Programme of UNFPA.
  • In ‘Open Discussion’, participants highlighted key issues which women in rural areas have to face while accessing their rights and opportunities. It was stressed to work in a coordinated manner, define core problems and address those in a sustainable manner.
  • Mr Salman Asif, UN Gender Advisor, highlighted the key recommendations emanated from the Dialogue and paid a vote of thanks to all organizers and panellists and participants.
  • In the sidelines of this Dialogue, ILO had organized an interesting “Knowledge-Sharing Stall” showcasing all ILO publications on Gender and Decent Work – produced by TGP and GE4DE Projects. Participants took keen interest in the publications and appreciated the relevance and quality.

Second Event 9th March: The Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) organized their International Women Day celebration at the ILO auditorium with the theme 'Women's Gender Pay Gap; unchanged in 10 years”. The PWF has selected this theme around the ITUC publication with similar them to mark the International Women Day. PWF brought together 300 working women representing differ sectors. The roles of future workers were also acknowledged with the lighting of candles by a young girl and boy. On the occasion the Acting General Secretary Pakistan Workers Federation Brother Zahoor Awan and various women workers leaders spoke on the event.

For further information please contact

Dr Muhammad Saifullah Chaudhry, Senior Programme Officer
Tel.: +92 51 2276456-8, Ext 235