15 April | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

‘Pakistan, UK working closely together to further gender equality’

British High Commission gathers businesswomen in Islamabad from across Pakistan to highlight their achievements and discuss shared challenges

The British High Commission brought together senior businesswomen from across Pakistan to highlight their achievements and discuss shared challenges on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

At a trade fair in Islamabad, female entrepreneurs demonstrated the work they are doing in artificial intelligence, medical technology, and smart apps. Umaima Nadir, a student from Lahore who was selected to be ‘Ambassador for the Day,’ shadowed the high commissioner during her engagements.

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott stated that Pakistan and the UK were working closely together to further gender equality. “It is a priority that runs across all of our work. It is as important as ever to place the economy at the heart of progress in Pakistan, with women at the heart of the economy,” she said.

She said that there was overwhelming evidence that investing in women and girls and breaking down the barriers they face accelerates development, especially when women were integrated into the workforce. “If women had the same role in labor markets as men, an estimated 26%, or $28 trillion, could be added to the global GDP,” she said.


Addressing an event to celebrate the International Women’s Day at the Main Garden of the British Council building in Lahore, Head of British High Commission Office Clara Strandhoj called women empowerment a primary agenda of the UK government and affirmed commitment to continue supporting and promoting women empowerment in Pakistan.

She said that every society can spark change and speed the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world for all by investing in women. She said that the British government has supported marginalized, urban and rural women to build resilience against poverty. “We believe that all women must gain economic empowerment through learning financial management, and increased access to finance,” she said.

“We are working with women in rural communities in order to build their confidence to participate in decisionmaking and carving connections with relevant urban markets,” Danish Jabbar Khan, chief executive officer of the Kaarvan Crafts Foundation, told Jarida Daily during the event at the British Council. He is devoted to examining the ways in which gender roles and human inequality are embedded in the society.

He said that representation and participation of women would pave the path for a culture of peace in Pakistan. He suggested life skills opportunities for marginalized women living in low-income communities to reduce gender difference. Under the leadership of Danish Khan, Kaarvan has touched lives of thousands women in over 1,000 villages across Pakistan. “At Kaarvan, we are striving to create a world of cooperation and collaboration where men and women stand side by side as equal participants,” he said.

Speaking with Jarida Daily, Shirakat Partnership for Development Project Coordinator Shazia Mushtaq said that intervention of her non-government organization to improve the livelihood and food security in rural areas proved to be vital in helping communities recover and prevent a devastating outcome. “We successfully empowered unprivileged community members through business interest groups and increased their income through solar dryers by dehydrating vegetables and fruits,” she said while sharing details of the agricultural enterprise development project.

“Our project focused on supporting Agriperenures through technical and business skills development, with vital links to markets and support to access or develop financial and literacy skills that leads to future growth,” she said. “We believe that skills alone are not enough to lift marginalized people out of poverty as links in market and wider resources are vital for sustainable growth,” she said, adding that the trained beneficiaries also trained fellow women to gain confidence in business opportunities, and potential to lead them to a better life.


Celebrating International Women’s Day, British Council Pakistan also arranged a live session about contributions of two remarkable leaders Sarah Pervez and Wajiha Irfan. As Head of Education at British Council, Sarah Pervez brings her knowledge and experience in education to the forefront, championing innovative approaches and initiatives.

Wajiha Irfan, who is Head of Non-Formal Education at British Council, showcases her outstanding leadership in designing and executing programs that foster lifelong learning, social inclusion, and cultural diversity. Together, they embody the spirit of empowerment and progress on the International Women’s Day.