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Saturday November 27, 2021

Womenomics

July 21, 2021

It is now generally recognised throughout the world that women’s economic advancement, women’s participation in a country’s economic activities, improves a country’s economy. This phenomenon is called womenomics. Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world by population – 220 million – but our Gross Domestic Production (GDP) is 46th in the world. One of the reasons for this disappointing rate of growth is that women’s participation in Pakistan’s economic activities is low – around 18 percent as compared to the world average of 38 percent. Only 25 percent of educated women are working. Good economic conditions of an individual or a nation are essential for securing the basic necessities like food, education, healthcare, security, recreation, etc. The economic history of developed and developing nations tell us that womenomics is an important factor for their progress and prosperity.

Despite many initiatives and programmes launched by the government of Pakistan – including special quotas for women, strong maternity leaves laws, progressive laws against harassment at workplace, financial support for business startups – women’s participation in the country’s economic activities has not increased as much as it should have. It is an important area in which Pakistan must improve and come in line with at least regional countries like India and Bangladesh. Billions of rupees can be added to Pakistan’ GDP by providing reasonable economic opportunities to women in Pakistan who can run businesses, industries and technology-based services efficiently. Women should also come forward, take initiatives and accept the challenge of taking up jobs according to their qualifications. There is no doubt that there are difficulties for women at workplaces. One of the reasons for our low rate of women’s participation is the huge gender pay gap which is reportedly 34 percent. How do we overcome this problem in a free market economy? The solution to this problem is the higher rate of women’s participation in the country’s economic activities.

Ejaz Ahmad Magoon (FCA)

Lahore