Symposium

Raymond Robertson, Dr. Sumera Haque, Duraid Quereshi, Leslie Cruz and Elizabeth Vazquez discuss ideas to propel women in economy forward through medicine, media and mentorship.

On Nov. 14, Texas A&M held a day-long symposium in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the furthering of Pakistani women in the economy. The symposium hosted over ten different speakers to discuss the role of Pakistani women in business and economy.

The U.S.-Pakistani Women’s Council, the host of the event, is a public-private partnership that hopes to advance women’s economic participation in Pakistan through entrepreneurship and education. This is the first annual symposium held at A&M and includes speakers such as Michael K. Young, the President of Texas A&M, and Ubaid ur Rehman Nizamani from the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.

In his opening remarks, Young welcomed the guests in attendance and then discussed the importance of the council and of getting women involved in workforce of Pakistan. Young said the obstacles for women in Pakistan, especially in business, are great and ultimately Pakistan is losing out one of its greatest potential for development.

“It does not matter how rich a country is,” Young said. “A country cannot afford to waste half of its assets. It cannot afford to try and see global progress and development and internal progress and development without exploiting 50 percent of its resources.”

Young said the success of the council’s first phase after they reached around 236,000 Pakistani women. In the future, the second phase will focus on the expansion of the council’s business partnerships with women. Young said the initiatives started by the council propel women in business forward in order to immerse them in the global market.

“We believe our efforts are not just about helping a few people to help make it better today,” Young said. “But ensuring that future generations also have the opportunity to live better lives. In that spirit, we hope to continue to build on the important work that has already been done to build a brighter future for all women and girls.”

Nizamani said the council has been incredibly successful in bringing more Pakistani women into the business sector with training programs and other tools and said this is vital to the economy of Pakistan.

“The economic participation of women is very critical to economic growth, development, security and prosperity of any country,” Nizamani said. “It is one of the top priorities of the government of Pakistan.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Pakistan Affairs Ervin Massinga said the symposium was created to achieve the council’s goal of involving more women in the workforce. Massinga said the symposium served as a way for the key figures involved to plan the future of the council and reflect on what is most important in achieving the goal.

“At the Department of State, we are really pleased to be knitting together this close relationship with the university on this issue which can potentially open the door to other types of engagements with the public policy school and the business school,” Massinga said.

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