The 3-day 2nd international conference on “Gender and Social Sciences: Diversity, Challenges and Opportunities” organized by the Department of Gender and Development Studies at Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) in collaboration with other partners universities including Jhang University (UoJ), GIFT University and Kinnaird College for Women (KCW) was held here on Monday.

This conference was a part of a project between LCWU and partner universities (GIFT, Kinnaird, Jhang), which was funded by the US Govt and administrated by USEFP. The main purpose of this project was to build the capacity of partner universities so that they can start a program of gender and development study as a major outcome of this project in their universities.

Prof Dr Bushra Mirza presided over the inaugural session of the conference. While speaking at the occasion Prof Dr Bushra mirza says, “this conference is a platform for all social scientists, and academicians here to sit together and exchange their learning and knowledge regarding researching gender issues”. I see this conference as an opportunity for us to take a second look at the world around us and explore the opportunities through which we enact change in our own lives and assist those around us, she added.

Principal investigator of the project and in charge of Gender & Development Studies department LCWU Dr Uzma Ashiq said that during the 6 to 7 months project, efforts had been made to develop the capacity of the faculty of partner university by executing different activities including; training on gender concepts, curriculum development, leadership development & research methods. These trainings were delivered by international and national trainers from different universities including George Washington University (GWU) USA, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand, Henderson State University (HSU) USA, Foundation University Islamabad (FUI), Kinnaird College for Women, GIFT University Gujranwala, Home Economics University (UHE) Lahore, FCCU, Gulberg College, University of Punjab (PU) Lahore, Lahore College for Women University.

Dean of Humanities & Social sciences Gift University Dr Asir Ajmal highlighted that I can safely say that after decades of struggle, the visibility of women can be seen in different sectors of society. In many places, women are experiencing societal backlash triggered by the very progress in exercising their rights. He further added that According to the UN report (2022), women spend more time in unpaid work than men globally and at the current rate, it will take 257 years to close the global gender, pay gap. This tells us that the road to achieving gender equality is long and challenging and it requires a comprehensive approach, responsibility, and joint action by all: institutions and individuals.

Dr Muhammad Afzal Dean of Humanities & Social sciences LCWU pointed out that LCWU has been working for years to contribute to the empowerment of women not only in academia but also through their capacity building so that they can emerge as a leader in different fields such as in sports and entrepreneurship. I hope the papers which will be presented at this conference in the next two days will trigger discussions about where opportunities lie to accelerate the progress in making gender equality a reality. Moreover, research findings would inform policymakers about possible pathways of reforms, and integration of gender equality as the guiding principle in the reform process. He added.

The Registrar of Jhang University Muzaffar Abbas, Madiha Nadeem, Shahla Ahmad co-principal investigators, faculty members and students also attended the conference.

Related: 18th Convocation of LCWU awards degrees to 2897 students

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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