Spotlight

Paving Way for Economic Empowerment

By J. Enver | April 2021

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Last year a report published by the World Economic Forum, the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, ranked Pakistan amongst the last three countries in gender gap.

The listing has been published by WEF consecutively every year, and it scores countries on parameters of economic participation, education, health and political empowerment. Interestingly, Pakistan’s ranking dropped from 112 in 2006 to 151 in 2020, slipping multiple points in each of the matrixes to score this rating.

It pointed out that economic opportunities in Pakistan were scarce with the country trying to bridge 32.7 percent of the gap between men and women.

The report is indicative of the stark reality in Pakistan and while the debate is ongoing with respect to increasing women in the workforce, a lot needs to be done at the policy level to bring a paradigm shift in mindset and approach.

But there are also positive changes that are taking place in urban areas, and with the advent of ride hailing apps, commute, which used to be one of the major hurdles that women used to face, has been resolved to a great extent.

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Although this is the case in urban areas, where young women are slowly and steadily increasing in the workforce, the rural areas of Pakistan pose a totally different picture.There are approximately 65 million women living in rural areas of the country. Traditionally, these women are part of the workforce but often as unpaid workers engaged in family farming on agricultural lands, or managing the livestock. Despite their productivity and contribution, rural women in Pakistan have very little access to technologies and public services such as health, education, training, transport and financial inclusion.

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