Danish ambassador Ole Thonke has said that educating young people about their rights and preventing child marriages improves likelihood of better education, health, and job opportunities, and reduces the likelihood of exposure to violence or abuse.
The Danish envoy said this at the inaugural ceremony of the 6th International Conference on Psychology of Gender in Perspective: Issues and Challenges, held at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), where he was invited as the chief guest.
The conference was organized by Oxfam Pakistan in collaboration with the National Institute of Psychology, QAU, with the support of the government of Denmark.
Ole Thonke stressed that educating the youth about basic life skills was critical to their ability to make healthy and informed decisions. It also helped prevent school dropout and violence. He especially emphasised the problem of child marriages, which pose major health risks for both the mother and the child and are detrimental to gender equality and women empowerment.
Both financial and social vulnerability leads many young girls towards isolation and a lack of decision-making powers in the household, which makes them more vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence, as well as other kinds of abuse.
Such lack of female empowerment is not only unfair, but is also a huge loss of opportunity.
“Pakistan is missing out on the talent and productivity of half its population, holding back economic growth and opportunity for society. A brighter future for Pakistan is only possible when the country is able to harness the skills, talent and productivity of its entire people. Every woman and man, girl and boy in Pakistan. For this, everyone has a role to play”, he added.
The Ambassador of Denmark was joined by Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Oxfam Pakistan Country Director Muhammad Qazilbash, and Vice Chancellor QAU Dr Javed Ashraf at the ceremony.
Tariq Fazal Chaudhry admired the role of academia in life-long learning and development, positive community engagement, and developing leadership skills. He hoped that the conference would result in proposals and suggestions for the government for gender-based policies.
Source: Pakistan Today
Byline: Staff Reporter
December 3, 2016