Women entrepreneurs have demanded incentives and tax breaks in the Federal Budget 2011-12, saying that progress can only be achieved by providing equal opportunities to the 52 percent of the population of the country.
Allocation for development of women should be satisfactory while fiscal policies should help reduce poverty level of women, said Samina Fazil, President, Islamabad Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) here on Thursday.
Speaking at a meeting, she said that effective use of public resources can result in desired economic development. Women continue to struggle with the slow economic development caused by various factors that need to be revisited, Samina demanded.
All services, opportunities and assistance packages should be designed to benefit both genders, she said, adding that women must be included in planning, budgeting and policy-making processes in a meaningful way.
Globally, six out of ten poorest people are women, their representation in parliaments is less than 16 percent, two thirds of all children deprived of education are girls while 80 percent women cannot get bank loans because of unpaid or insecure jobs, she informed.
The IWCCI president said that women comprise 52 percent of the population, but own less than one percent of the wealth because of discrimination and social prejudices.
Chairman Coordination FPCCI Raza Khan said that the government as well as the business community should promote women's enterprise, expand opportunities and education for women and enhance public education.
He said that women play a very important role in the economic development of Pakistan, which is not properly noticed or appreciated.
FPCCI will help women interact with the media, civil society, public, parliamentarians and policy makers to highlight their issues, said Raza Khan.
Progress will remain a dream if majority of the population feel jobless, hopeless, vulnerable, harassed and hapless; he said, adding that policy and governance structures should be redesigned to end marginalization.
President Tribal Chamber Fayaz Khan, former presidents of ICCI Nasir Khan, Khaid Jaweed, Mian Shaukat Masood, Cahirman Marble Association Shahid ur Rehman, Mian Waqas and others were also present on the occasion.
They said that women should be given ownership of land and control over productive resources.
Rural women are major contributors in crop and livestock production, household maintenance, transportation of water, fuel, fodder, etc., without getting wages or benefit.
The urban workingwomen is dependent on middlemen, have no access to information and credit which keep them poor and their potential remains unrealized, they said.
This culture must be changed to achieve growth rate acceleration, and economic stabilization, the business leaders demanded.