The Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Ayesha A Malik inaugurated the Women Development Center at University of Home Economics (UHE) Lahore.

In the opening ceremony held at the University Auditorium, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Kanwal Ameen, Secretary Women Development Department (WDD) Punjab Sumaira Samad, Vice-Chancellor Baba Guru Nanak University (GNU) Dr Muhammad Afzal, Vice-Chancellor Okara University (UoO) Dr Zakaria Zakir, In-charge Women Development Center Dr Iram Rabab, Dr Rubina Zakir were present.

Addressing the students, Justice Ayesha A Malik said the university’s Centre would be helpful in focusing on issues pertaining to women such as education, economics, leadership role and better citizens. She highlighted that 49 percent of Pakistan’s total population consists of women. Among them, 21% women belongs to labor class, 31% are below the age of 30, 23% women in professional and technical positions, only 3 percent owns houses, and 18% are getting married in the age of below 18 years and Pakistan ranks 145th in terms of Gender Equality compared to other countries of the world.

She was of the view that social and cultural barriers creating problems and women issues are entrenched with the society. Women are being seen as mother, sister, wife and it’s unfortunate they are not being seen as Women. She said, there is a dire need for financial autonomy for women, and women have to learn decision making.

Justice Ayesha said, “this Centre should work in changing the society’s perspective on women and build a new narrative & gender perspective.

She stressed upon that women need to build their narrative by themselves to change the perspective in patriarchal society. She told the students that by and large women protection laws exist, there are judgements for the benefits of women but the actual problems are enforcement and execution.

Justice Ayesha believed that it is inevitable now to rethink, present women’s point of view, women perspective, we have to find new ways of dealing with women issues. It’s very do-able, we have to be up for the challenges, we need to create awareness, women must understand who they are, what their rights are to their children. It’s imperative to talk about health, safe spaces, reproductive systems, where women feel safe in society. We have to enhance the inclusivity and acceptability of women in working, domestic, urban and rural areas.

She was of the view women are most affected by cybercrimes, human trafficking, and digital technology, educated women should become the voice of marginalized women.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Kanwal Ameen said the establishment of the Centre was approved by Syndicate, Women Development Centre shall be used in professional & skills development of the women by arranging the training workshops, seminars and symposiums. She said, women must be aware of cyberspace and sensitivity to the digital information age.

On this occasion, Secretary Women Development Department Samira Samad said that the priorities of the government include paving the way for the development of women and the said Centre of the university will be a center for the guidance for female 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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