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UNESCO commemorates International Women's Day
8th March, 2013 in Islamabad

Islamabad March 8, UNESCO in collaboration with UN-Women, UN Inter-Agency Group on Gender Equality (IAG on GE) and Islamabad College for Girls, organized an event to commemorate International Women's Day 2013 at Islamabad College for Girls.

The theme for this year is "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women". The event was attended by over 400 participants, by women, persons with disabilities, teachers, students, UN community, and representatives from government and civil society.

Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director/Representative UNESCO Islamabad in her speech said that the event today was dedicated to highlight the importance of girls' education as a powerful tool to end violence against women. She pointed out that the event was also related to Article 25 A of the Constitution of Pakistan on Rights to Free and Compulsory Education for all children, girls and boys of age 5 to 16 years. This was legislated by Islamabad Capital Territory Act and subsequently by the Sindh Provincial Assembly. Now girls must be given full access to schooling and literacy as a constitutional right, which is a powerful tool to combat violence against women. She further highlighted the gender gap in youth literacy by pointing out to UNESCO report that the literacy rate of female youth of aged between 15-24 in Pakistan is 61% against 79% for males. Gender gap is also evident in the overall literacy scenario of the country as women constitute two-third of the total illiterate people.

In his opening remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Timo Pakkala, applauded the ongoing efforts of the government of Pakistan particularly with the promulgation of series of legislation intending to protect women and girls from violence. However, he said, gender based violence remained pervasive. He reiterated the United Nations' commitment to continue to work in collaboration with the government and CSOs particularly in the context of devolution and in the light of the One Programme II (2013-2017) to develop more context specific solutions for the people of Pakistan.

Other panelists shading light on ending violence against women included Mr. Francesco d'Ovidio, Country Director, ILO, Lena Lindberg, Country Director, UN Women, Ms. Abia Akram, Chairperson, National Forum for Women with Disabilities and Professor Shaista Pirzada, Principal, Islamabad College for Girls. The event also provided opportunities for participants, especially the students, to express their concerns and solutions to do away with violence against women and religious minorities. Students from Fatima Jinnah Women's University, Quaid-e-Azam University and Islamabad College for Girls also read their statements on the theme.

 Press Release
 DG Message on the occasion of International Women's Day

Event from Quetta, Balochistan

UNESCO also collaborated with UN-Women for organizing an event in Quetta to commemorate International Women's Day, 8th March, 2013.
     
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