Published Date: Mar 3, 2017
The member of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economics Affairs, Mohsin Khan Legahri, on Thursday said the economic empowerment of women was a key to their emancipation in society.
However, the change in the mindset is crucial for true social, economic and political empowerment and development of women. He said this while speaking at a pre-budget consultative meeting on "Role of social enterprises in women empowerment" held by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday.
The consultative meeting was attended by the representatives of leading relevant public and private sector institutes, civil society organisations (CSOs) and members of various trade and business bodies. Senator Mohisn Legahri on the occasion assured the participants that of every possible support he could lend for the promotion of women led business enterprises in the country.
Dr Vaqar Ahmad, Deputy Executive Director of SDPI, earlier said that the government support to social enterprises could be started by giving a legal definition to these entities. The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Planning Commission could work with the provincial Planning Departments and hence, may support social enterprises (SEs) through provincial development budgets, he said.
He said that the federal budget 2017-18 may also provide for support to potential women entrepreneurs and start-ups towards their capacity building and organisational development needs. The budget also needs to discuss the case of double taxation on SEs after the devolution. Likewise, he said, the Federal Board of Revenue will have to consult women-led SEs and devise a tax regime that values social impact.
Dr Sadia Rehman, Director (Society), British Council Pakistan, was of the view that to meet the challenge of increasing unemployment, the skills and knowledge of social enterprise should be imparted to our youngsters, especially women and girls to meet the emerging challenge.
Seher Afsheen, while representing Oxfam in Pakistan, said that we need to focus on rural population where women are totally excluded in every sphere of life. She said that while providing support to women in rural areas under social enterprise development initiatives, their constraints and limitations should also be made part of designs and planning.
Mansoor Malik, Chairman Kamyaab Pakistan and Samar Hasan from Karandaz, discussed the various aspects of social enterprise. They explained that women led social enterprises could not only redress the issue of their disempowerment but could also contribute in poverty reduction at the grassroots level.
The speakers proposed that the State Bank of Pakistan could explore the reason as to why formal finance is not reaching the women-led SEs and put in place corrective measures which boost lending to enterprising women. They added further that federal and provincial governments may encourage women-led SEs through public procurement of goods and services while development partners and donor community need to take increasing interest in improving capacities of women-led SEs.