Gender equality and women’s empowerment are among top priorities of Pakistan where women have made important strides, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has told the United Nations.
“Our adherence to the ideals of empowering women and protecting their rights stems from our faith, Constitution and the vision of our founding father,” the Pakistani envoy said in a speech to UN-Women, the world body’s entity working for empowerment of women, which opened its first session in 2017 on Tuesday.
As a leading troop contributing country, she said, Pakistan fully recognized the critical role of women in international peace and security. “Our women peacekeepers have served as police officers, doctors and nurses in missions in Asia, Africa and the Balkans.”
Pakistan had also earned the distinction of electing the first female prime minister in the Muslim world — not once but twice, and its outstanding women professionals had served as speaker of the National Assembly, as foreign minister and governor of the Central Bank. “Only yesterday, my government appointed the country’s first-ever female Foreign Secretary.”
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi also cited the progress made by women around the world, saying they have a pivotal role to play in achieving sustainable development. Achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, she pointed out, was at the heart of the new development agenda.
UN-Women, she said has the potential to catalyze change by utilizing its composite nature and mandates in a fully integrated fashion.
Ambassador Lodhi called for unwavering political support and ownership in order to accomplish the new development paradigm that poses many implementation and leadership challenges.
“Women across the world, from Columbia to Uganda to Burundi to Tunisia, have emerged as leaders and consensus builders, inspiring hopes of peace and prosperity amidst conflict and violence”, the Pakistani envoy said. Over the years, she said women had demonstrated the requisite skills, capacities for mediation and peace building and displayed a remarkable ability to lead various international initiatives.
Such skills and abilities make them particularly suited as special envoys, special representatives and resident coordinators, she said, adding that the current share of women in leadership roles at the UN remained abysmally low. “We are encouraged to see Secretary-General Antonio Guterres focus on addressing this.”
Samaa Desk. At UN, Pakistan says gender equality among top priorities. Samaa Tv, February 15, 2017.