Islamabad: Pakistan’s capital city will soon have the country’s first all-women market to boost women’s economic participation and empowerment.
The announcement was made by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed during his address at the annual meeting of the Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI).
The interior minister said that an all-women market is vital to uplift working women in his constituency Rawalpindi and its twin-city Islamabad. He asked women to come forward and play their due role in different sectors to contribute to the overall development of the country. He also announced the establishment of a third women-only university in Rawalpindi.
Speaking to Gulf News, Samina Fazil, the founder president of IWCCI, said the establishment of a market exclusively for women entrepreneurs in Islamabad was “a long-standing demand” of the businesswomen. “We needed a place where women can comfortably and affordably run their businesses, sell and promote their products” without worrying about the high rents at commercial buildings.
Nearly half of Pakistan’s estimated population of 220 million are female. “It is vital for economic growth to enable and facilitate half of the country’s population to do business and become economically independent,” Fazil said. She requested the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to promptly issue IWCCI the no-objection certificate (NOC) to speed up the establishment of the market.
The pandemic made things more difficult for all especially the businesswomen who were left to survive on their own since all expo events were cancelled.
Since 2000, the IWCCI is focused on improving the economic empowerment of women by increasing their capacity building to work as professional entrepreneurs, Fazil shared. It has 350 women entrepreneurs as members and over 200 women enterprises working in textile, jewellery, home decor, furniture, leather products, handicrafts, and hand-knotted carpets.