ISLAMABAD (Khyber Mail): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Human Rights and Women Empowerment, Mushaal Hussein Mullick, asserted that higher education serves as more than a pursuit of knowledge; it acts as a gateway to critical thinking and skills acquisition.

Addressing the opening ceremony of a two-day international conference at Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, she highlighted the transformative impact of women’s access to higher education on both individual empowerment and societal progress.

Mullick acknowledged the historical obstacles women faced in obtaining higher education, citing gender bias, cultural norms, and economic disparities as persistent challenges. While recognizing milestones achieved, she emphasized the ongoing hurdles hindering women’s educational access.

The Special Assistant highlighted key legislative measures enacted by the government to protect and empower women, including the Zainab Alert Response and Recovery Act, 2020, Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Act 2020, The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021, and The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace (Amendment) Act, 2022.

Emphasizing the link between women’s education and economic progress, Mullick asserted that investing in women’s higher education contributes to a diverse and innovative workforce, ultimately reducing poverty rates. She underscored that education extends beyond academic achievements, encompassing critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills essential for effective leadership.

Expressing her commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, Mullick outlined a 100-day Action Plan and the initiation of a National Gender Policy in collaboration with stakeholders. She highlighted the Legal Aid and Justice Authority Act, 2020, providing legal and financial assistance to vulnerable groups, including women.

Mullick urged the extension of women’s empowerment beyond the classroom to include mentorship and supportive networks. She commended the establishment of helplines such as Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) helplines, KPK Bolo helpline, Sindh Women Development Department Helpline, and Tele Psycho Social Support Services to combat Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Addressing the challenging situations in the Indian illegally occupied Kashmir and Palestine, Mullick acknowledged the resilience of Kashmiri and Palestinian women facing prolonged land disputes and militarized environments. She praised figures like Ahed Tamimi for their courage and resilience, portraying them as beacons of hope.

Mullick concluded by advocating for a future where every woman has the opportunity to access higher education, emphasizing the transformative power of education to empower women and, in turn, transform the world.

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