In Islamabad, to commemorate International Women’s Day, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday unveiled the Citizen’s Handbook to Reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) within the ministry of planning. “If Pakistan is to be put on the path of rapid development, then we have to connect 100% of the population with the country’s development process,” stated Minister Ahsan Iqbal while addressing to the participants.

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According to a press release issued here, the Planning Minister has started a number of programs for women as part of its development budget. In order to assess and consider development projects from a gender viewpoint, a gender unit has been established within the Ministry. The Minister emphasized that women are only eligible for 50% of the government-sponsored scholarship programs. Addressing women at Citizen Guide’s inaugural ceremony, Ahsan stated that over half of the Young Development Fellows YDFs Program’s initiators are girls who have led the most effective campaign against gender discrimination in Pakistani institutions.

He added that the goal of the YDFs’ campaign against GBV was to educate female students on how to defend themselves from all forms of violence. Similarly to this, Citizen Guide will benefit women in this way.

The Minister also emphasized that the government will soon launch an internship program in which women and recent female graduates would be given equal opportunities.

Parallel to this, the government is launching a program called InnovationFund through which female entrepreneurs will be supported and given money to run their businesses so they may serve as role models for other women.

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