Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh said on Tuesday that the country and the nation could not progress by confining half of its population (women).
Addressing the launching ceremony of ‘Gender Equity Program’ – A USAID and Aurat Foundation Project at SMIU – Dr Shaikh said that if women are provided equal opportunities in all fields of the society, they can produce marvellous results.
He said that Pakistan, elected the first ever woman Prime Minster (Benazir Bhutto) in the Muslim world, deserves recognition; but there is still a need to encourage women, not suppress them.
Dr Shaikh added that, in 1885, Sindh Madressatul Islam was established as a school for boys. This is why from 1885 to 1995, girls were not allowed to get education at secondary and college level, but later, a girls section was added to it.
Today, SMIU conveys a tale of education to both, the boys and girls, at school as well as university level. “The Gender Equity Program is near to the spirit and policies of SMIU, as we are already encouraging and supporting female students at SMIU,” Dr Shaikh said.
He added that recently when a group of SMIU’s students visited Islamabad under the National Leadership Program, 28 female students were part of it; while 18 were male students. Likewise, there were also a considerable number of women working on various faculties as well administrative posts at SMIU. The vice-chancellor urged the students to work for gender equality in their respective families, circles of friends and localities as the responsible citizens.
Aurat Foundation Director Resident Mahnaz Rahman said that women must participate in politics and make sure of the protection of women as well as human rights. She said that due to their struggle, 33 per cents reserve seats were given to women in the parliament, because due to costly election process it was impossible for them to be elected for the parliament. She said that SMIU is a most important institution of the country that is why it will be more supportive in the cause of gender equity.
SMIU Deputy Director and project in charge Ambreen Barwani, in her welcome address, said that the Aurat Foundation is implementing USAID-supported ‘Gender Equity Program’ that aims at closing the gender gap in Pakistan by proactively supporting the development of women.
Ambreen said that SMIU will be proud to host this seven-month project, where various events, including awareness sessions as well as research studies will be carried out to promote gender sensitisation amongst its stakeholders.
PPI. ‘Gender Equity Program’ launched at SMIU. Daily Times, January 24, 2017.