Theme: “COVID-19 and Women Leadership”
AWARD Pakistan celebrated its 19th Annual Women Conference to mark “International Women Day” on 8th March 2021 at Royalton Hotel, Faisalabad. The theme of the conference was “COVID-19 and Women Leadership”. Nearly, 250 women, from almost all walks of life participated in the conference. The participation from Toba Tek Singh and Muzzafargarh was also present.
All the Women participants, throughout the conference, were excited and were holding banners/placards and were chanting slogans in favor of women rights. They welcomed the worthy guests and had a march at the hotel premises to show their solidarity and pay tribute to their fellow women all around the world. At the end of the march, the worthy guests i.e. Mrs. Asia Nasir(Ex-MNA), Mrs. Najma Afzal (Ex-MPA) and Mrs. Christina Peter (Executive Director AWARD) made speeches to ignite and excite the enthusiasm of the participants to celebrate the day with full zeal and zest.
They spoke and demanded for the basic rights for women like health, nutrition, education and share in the ancestral properties etc. They thanked all the women for being part of the rally and for playing a wonderful role in women empowerment and betterment at their levels.
The participants then gathered inside the main hall and the ceremony started with the recitation from Holy Quran by Rimsha Arshad. Fr. Khalid Rasheed Asi led the prayer and prayed for the success and protection of the participants, he also asked God’s blessings for AWARD and its benefactors, who are tirelessly and continuously working for the betterment and empowerment of the women in Pakistan. Later the National Anthem was played and sung with great respect.
The hosts of the conference, Ghafar Akhter and Qandeel Darakshan, welcomed all the participants once again and thanked the honorable guests for giving their precious time and participating in the event. Mrs. Christina Peter opened the theme of 19th Women Conference 2021 and also presented the highlights of previous International Women Day celebrations through video clips. The young students of the AWARD Women Resource Centre presented a beautiful performance and the theme of the ceremony was inaugurated by the guest of honor, Mrs. Asia Nasir.
The “Panel Discussion” regarding the rights of the women and making them useful part of the society, was led by Mrs. Christina Peter. Four women leaders were invited to lead the panel discussion. The Panelists were;
1. Ms. Najma Afzal ( Ex-MPA)
2. Sr. Rukhsana Yaqoob ( Principal St. Catherine High School)
3. Madam Ayesha Rafiq ( Advocate of Women Chamber of Commerce)
4. Mrs. Kehkshan Jibran ( Social Worker & working as Senior Program Manager )
1. Mrs. Najma Afzal talked about her working during the Covid-19 time. She and her team raised awareness regarding precautions and safety measures. She also told about the diet plans, medicines and supplements to be taken during Covid-19.
2. Sr. Rukhsana Yaqoob gave recommendations for the safe continuation of the education of the students, which were;
• Digitalize the education system so that education should not stop
• Prepare notes for the students of villages to provide them at their homes
• Never get our children gat dropped out of the schools due to any reason rather find solutions to the problems faced due to Covid-19.
3. Madam Ayesha Rafiq emphasized on the rights of women and harassment policies. She told about the laws made assisting women’s development.
She also shared about the steps taken by the government to strengthen the women, which are;
• Committees will be formed in all organizations for reporting any type of harassment
• Women have right of having share in the property and if it’s not given then there is 10 years imprisonment
• Marrying with Quran or against the will of the girls, there is law for them
• There is law against the honor killing
• There are laws for the violence against women at domestic level
• Acid burnt women are heard and given protection in the “Anti-Terrorist” courts/department.
4. Ms. Kehkshan suggested that women should utilize funds/grants/loans for their business development rather than fulfilling other needs. She endorsed that to get equal rights women have to make equal efforts and keep trying to groom and develop themselves and their families.
After the input on the topic by the panelists, the host had questions from the audience which were answered in a very simple way.
Later, the certificates were distributed among the 15 successful students of “Mobile Repairing Course” and among 10 successful students of “Computer Training Centre”.
Mrs. Asia Nasir the “Chief Guest” expressed her views and said “ 365 days of the year are less for the celebrations of the women, yet one day which is dedicated to all the women is really wonderful and energizing for the women of our society. She also narrated that never be called vulnerable as we women are not lesser than any other member of our society. There is no religion in the world which has not provided respect and dignity for the women”
She also narrated about the women protection laws which are being implemented in Pakistan. She said that “No nation can grow whose more than 50% of the population is bound in between the four walls of the house. Women should be given equal opportunities to grow and work for their development. At the end she thanked Mrs. Christina Peter and congratulated all the certified students”.
Fr. Khalid Rasheed Assi and Ms. Neeraj John (Pakistan Partnership Initiative) thanked and appreciated the efforts of AWARD and Mr. & Mrs. Peter Shahzad for their tireless efforts for empowering women in the society.
A Traditional Jhumar (folk dance) was performed by the DRR team and the community group from Kott Addu district, Muzzafargarrh. Then medals were awarded to the women leaders and the frontliners who worked selflessly during the pandemic. At the end, Shields were awarded among the AWARD staff to recognize their efforts in Covid-19.
Mrs. Christina Peter thanked all the participants and guest of honors for giving their precious time and for the participation in this event. She also requested all the women who were present to continue their efforts in strengthening and empowering the women of the society .The conference ended with the lunch.