15th Annual Rural Women Leadership Conference
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The opening session of the conference was addressed by the Federal Minister for Human Rights, Riaz Pirzada, the Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, Nilofar Bakhtiar, as well as Shahida Rehmani, Secretary Women Parliamentary Caucus.
Chairperson Nilofar Bakhtiar said: "We are proud to support this year's PODA conference as it supports and empowers rural women. Our children eat the food that you've grown with your hands, we are truly indebted to you. Thank you for all that you've done and all that you do."
The Chairperson highlighted the plight faced by the flood-affected communities in the country. "It's a large and strenuous task but NCSW, with the Minister of Human Rights, is working tirelessly to ease the plight of the women within those regions."
NCSW & PODA arranged an exclusive workshop in the conference on how to ensure effective inclusion of rural women leaders in the Annual Development Plan with Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar as chair. The problems of women residing in rural areas was discussed at length, along with important suggestions and ways to address them.
Majority of the demands of the conference pertained to participation in decision making processes on climate change, equal opportunity in every sphere of life, self-defense training for girls in educational institutions, and mandatory minimum age of marriage at 18.
The crowd consisted rural women and girls from all over the country and their representatives. The audience was also addressed by Kishwar Naheed, peace activist and poet and Sven Ruesch, Acting Head of Cooperation & Delegation of European Union.