Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Prof Shahida Kazi Women Complex at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Saturday, First Lady Begum Samina Alvi called for taking steps to ensure greater participation of women in the workforce for their socio-economic empowerment.
Samina stressed the need to provide a conducive and friendly environment to women, especially female journalists, at the workplaces to increase women’s inclusion in mainstream economic activities.
She inaugurated the Shahida Kazi Women Complex, which offers daycare facilities for women, a gym, workstations, restrooms, digital platforms and entertainment spaces at the KPC.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by KPC President Saeed Sarbazi, Press Information Department (PID) Karachi PR Director General Iram Tanvir, KPC Secretary Shoaib Ahmed, Gohar Group of Companies Chairman Muhammad Hanif Gohar and KPC members.
Shahida was a former senior media person and a professor of mass communication at the University of Karachi. She also served as the chairperson of KU’s mass communication department. The KPC had awarded her its lifetime membership before her recent death.
Samina urged the media, especially female journalists, to play their role in highlighting women’s issues and creating awareness about their rights. She said female journalists can prove to be an asset to their respective organisations by bringing in a unique journalistic perspective and can also effectively highlight various issues women face in the country.
She lauded the establishment of the first-ever women’s complex at the KPC, saying that it would facilitate working women in performing their professional responsibilities, besides taking care of their families.
She also urged the creation of a harassment-free work environment to encourage women’s participation in mainstream economic activities. She remarked that women make up almost half the country’s population, and it is impossible for the country to progress without their inclusion in the workforce.
She said the media should continue to play its role in creating awareness about important socio-economic issues, including breast cancer, the rights and facilitation of persons with disabilities, and the importance of mental health and well-being.
She also said that due to the support from the media, her awareness campaign on breast cancer yielded positive results, and different hospitals in the country witnessed an improvement in the reporting of early-stage breast cancer cases.
She also appreciated the fact that the newly built complex at the KPC carries the name of Prof Shahida, who had a remarkable influence on many journalists in the city.
The first lady said that the creation of such facilities, especially daycare centres at workplaces, is not only necessary but also imperative to encourage women in professional careers.
KPC Secretary Ahmed said that the establishment of the complex is a small but important step in the right direction to socially uplift women in Pakistan, especially in the field of journalism.
He said that the creation of a separate space on the demand of female members of the KPC would also help motivate female journalists to do their work more efficiently.
The PID’s Iram lauded the KPC for being the first press club in Pakistan to inaugurate a complex dedicated to encouraging and facilitating women. She said the complex would ensure diversity and inclusivity in the field of journalism. On the occasion, Samina was granted a lifetime membership of the KPC by its president.