Islamabad: The U.S. Government demonstrated its commitment to increasing opportunities for Pakistani women during a panel discussion focused on education, economic participation, and gender equality.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Deputy Mission Director Christopher Steel spoke to more than 100 participants from academia, public, private, and nonprofit sectors at a program sponsored by the USAID-supported Training for Pakistan activity. “We all should realize that for a woman to advance, it is critical that she is given the opportunity to learn. It is equally important that the ecosystem in which she operates empowers her to achieve whatever form of success she has defined for herself,” Mr. Steel said. “Through the Pathways to Success Program, USAID is assisting Pakistani women and girls in acquiring marketable skills, preparing them for the workplace, and encouraging them to explore employment opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavors. By improving opportunities for adolescent girls to access the knowledge and the technical skills they need, we empower them to make better lives for themselves, their families, their communities, and their country. ”
The discussion was moderated by Ms. Moneeza Hashmi, Mentoring Coordinator for the USAID-supported Pathways to Success National Mentoring Program. Panelists for the first session included beneficiaries of the program along with their parents. Panelists for the second discussion included Kiran Khan, female Olympic swimmer for Pakistan; Hajra Khan, female footballer and Captain of the Pakistan Women’s National Football Team; Amra Mubashir, Lead Culture, Engagement, and Diversity Officer at PepsiCo; Ather Viqar Azeem, Senior Vice President at HUM TV Network Limited; Danielle Sharaf, Technology Entrepreneur; and Faheem Hamid, Director Sales at Air Blue.
The USAID Training for Pakistan activity has helped more than 3,000 young women from underserved areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Sindh provinces to gain the skills they need to build meaningful careers.
More than 30 high-achieving and prominent women from IT, business, law, micro finance, banking, academia, arts, sports, and media have volunteered their participation in a national mentor network for 300 girls under the USAID-supported mentorship program. The mentors meet with their adolescent mentees and families at least twice a month to provide them guidance on how to overcome challenges and paving the way for professional success.
The USAID Training for Pakistan activity is a multi-year initiative aimed at providing participant training in the areas of education, energy, economic growth and agriculture, health, and stabilization and governance. The activity utilizes a broad range of participant training resources, contributing to the capacity development of USAID partners in line with the development objectives of the Government of Pakistan.