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ICCI and UNIDO endorse Government for adopting legislative measures to economically empower the women March 09, 2015
Meeting at ICCI
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) celebrated International Women’s Day. The theme of the event was “Economic Empowerment of Women – A Way Forward for Prosperous Pakistan” and was attended by 40 UNIDO beneficiary women entrepreneurs while a large number of women were also present at the occasion.
Speaking at the occasion, Esam Alqararah, Country Director UNIDO said that Pakistani women are very talented but are facing many problems including gender inequality. He said UNIDO has initiated several projects for gender equality for bringing women in the mainstream. He further said that UNIDO has assisted about 6000 women to enter into entrepreneurial activities who are now making useful contribution to the economic development of Pakistan. 
Mr.Esam assured that UNIDO in affiliation with ICCI would continue to play significant role for promoting and creating new opportunities for economic empowerment of women. He suggested that ICCI should establish a permanent center for display of women entrepreneurs’ products to motivate aspiring women to start business ventures and UNIDO could be more than willing to provide technical assistance to initiate such an endeavor.   
In his welcome address, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said women were almost 51 percent of Pakistan’s total population and there is an urgent need to enhance their role in the economic development of the country by creating enabling environment and providing them with better opportunities.  He further expressed that in many developed economies, women participation rate in workforce was over 60 percent, but share of women in Pakistan’s workforce is just 25 percent which necessitated that government should take more legislative measures and provide better incentives to bring them into the national mainstream. 
Mr.Shakeel appreciating the role of UNIDO for taking many initiatives for economic empowerment of women further said that ICCI would like to work closely with UNIDO for capacity building and skills development of women entrepreneurs. 
Many women entrepreneurs assisted by UNIDO in launching business ventures shared their success stories with the participants. They also pointed out that banks are charging high interest on business loans which is a major bottleneck for women and stressed that government should ensure easy credit facility with low interest rates for women entrepreneurs. They also stressed upon the government to establish a Display Center specifically for women entrepreneurs so that they could showcase their products with confidence and contribute for improving trade and exports. 
They event ended with this hope that UNIDO and ICCI will work together to remove the problems and barriers being faced by the women entrepreneurs.   

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