I watched the celebration of International Women's Day in Pakistan on Pakistan TV.
I learnt that under the premiership of their revered leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, women were further empowered with equality and allowed to become officers in the Pakistani Air Force as well as in the bureauracy. Of course, he was also the father of the peerless Benazir, the first woman Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic. This great family set the foundations for a modern, egalitarian democracy, where there is mutual respect and gender equality.
In memorium of the late Benazir Bhutto, they have set up a fund to help people set up in business by giving them Income Support. One young woman stated that she had received one and a half lakh rupees (nearly one thousand pounds at that time) to start a grocery shop, which was profitable, and had enabled her to open a perfume business also. According to her, several hundred thousand families like hers have been helped to become self-supporting business owners through that fund.
The Human Rights Committee of Pakistan were co-hosts of this event, attended by the PM Mr Gilani and members of parliament.
It is a salute to rural womankind who produce crops, rear livestock, bring up families, toiling from early in the morning to late at night, to feed their families and communities, often for no or little monetary reward. Such womankind works in the un-monitised part of the economy, producing subsistence and happiness. This is the Invisible GDP that underpins the economy, and it is a great credit to rural womankind, in Pakistan and everywhere else in the world.