Islamabad: On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of U.S. Ambassador Cameron P. Munter, presented a letter to Pakistani women from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Dr. Wyatt read the letter during a tea for alumnae of the all-women’s Seven Sisters Colleges in the United States. A letter written by Seven Sister alumna Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman was also shared to commemorate the occasion.
Secretary of State Clinton, herself an alumna of Wellesley College, a Sister College, delivered a personal message to Pakistani women stating, “Expanding the corps of women serving at all levels of government and civil society is an issue of fundamental fairness, but is also about expanding the pool of talented people we need to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. Whether it is fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law, or sparking economic growth, countries are more likely to succeed when they include a broader range of expertise, experience, and ideas.”
Dr. Wyatt, who attended Smith College, also a Sister College, called upon Pakistani women to reach out to the next generation of young women leaders. Dr. Wyatt hailed the current “Women in Public Service” initiative undertaken by the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with U.S. universities as an important step in addressing the global gender imbalance in leadership positions in government and civil society.
Dr. Wyatt also noted that U.S. assistance helps empower Pakistani women through civil society, academia, and the government. Through the Gender Equity Program, implemented by the Aurat Foundation, USAID provides grants to civil society organizations which work to end gender-based violence, and advance women’s rights and economic opportunities. Thus far, USAID has provided 76 grants valued at $3.5 million for Gender Equity programs.
These projects will increase civil registration enabling 1.6 million women to vote and access government services, advocate and coordinate national policy reforms combating gender based violence, provide internships for 200 women lawyers, and assist women regain property rights in flood affected areas.
Examples of U.S. Support for Pakistani Women in Public Service
Identity Cards for Pakistani Women
The United States works with the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) to provide social mobilization support for computerized national identity cards (CNIC) registration of women in 34 districts of Pakistan reaching 1.6 million women. These 1.6 women will now be able to cast their vote and access government services, including those essential for addressing gender based violence – the courts, police, and shelters.
National Advocacy to Combat Gender Based Violence
Help to establish a National Advisory Forum which brings together senior Pakistani government officials, civil society leaders, and academics to coordinate a national approach to combat gender based violence.
Supporting Women Lawyers
Support for female law students at public universities in the acquisition of the knowledge and expertise needed to handle women’s rights cases and become women’s legal rights experts and practitioners. Approximately 200 students received internships and stipends with renowned law firms, chambers, and departments for nine months. Additionally, 20 outstanding students from each province will participate in a national forum to share experiences and work together on women’s issues.
Restoring Women’s Land Titles
Help in restoring land titles for women and women-headed households in flood affected areas. Replaces lost ownership papers and other documentation for women who owned land or homes but lost their documentation in the floods, those who never owned land or houses but lost male family members in the floods, and those who are eligible for obtaining land grants under government programs but do not have access to the programs.
For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Section
Embassy of the United States of America
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Tel: +9251-208 0000
Fax: +9251-227 8607