We support the theme of the panel and thank the panellists for their insights.
- Real progress in all fields’ especially socio-economic development is not possible without the active and equal participation of women. Women’s meaningful participation warrants emancipation, economic independence and empowerment. Information and communication technologies have opened new horizons of opportunities for all. E-commerce, as source of democratization of opportunity can play a definite role in economic empowerment of women.
- ICTs can directly contribute in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to women by providing them economic opportunities at door step. It is worrisome that the gender digital divide has recently grown from 11 per cent in 2013 to 12 per cent in 2016. The underlying reasons for increasing gender digital divide need to be tackled.
- Necessary steps must be taken at the international and national level to provide good quality education to women and girls. International collaborations through technical and financial assistance, scholarship programs, funding of girls education, and investment in digital infrastructure and ICT industry with the objective of gender mainstreaming can go along way in promoting gender equality and women’s rights.
- Pakistan has taken a number of steps for enhancing the role of women in all sectors including the ICT. The youngest Microsoft certified professional of the world, late Arfa Karim. Pakistan’s largest technology park was named, “Arfa Software Technology Park” in recognition of her achievement and to inspire other girls to follow her suit. Before the end of term of the Government, our Ministry of IT was being headed by a female Minister who had worked arduously to mainstream gender related issues in ICT. Pakistan had launched 1 million freelancer program and 1,48,000 girls have been imparted with software skills. There are 5 startup incubation centres working in Pakistan to support entrepreneurship on the internet with a special focus on supporting women entrepreneurs.
I thankyou Mr. President.