ISLAMABAD, May 2 – Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) has taken a lead to facilitate women in scientific communities and to improve visibility of women scientists by maintaining a website and starting a project on collecting data on statistics of women representation in science and technology.
The data and materials from this web resource will serve as a reference material for the scientific community and for professionals working in the field of women’s empowerment as well.
Talking to APP, Chairperson PCST Dr. Mudasar Israr said in Pakistan, the status of women has improved in recent years but gender inequality remains pervasive.
Despite constituting almost half of the population, women are an underutilized talent, she said.
“For achieving national development it is an economic necessity to utilize their talents to the full at all levels of scientific and technological education, training and employment”.
Dr.Mudasar said the low socioeconomic status of women in Pakistan is beginning to be recognized as a potentially significant drag on the country’s growth.
No doubt, women are growing in numbers in the traditional male professions such as engineering, law, medicine, business, the police and the military, she said.
Women’s ranks have also grown in the nation’s entertainment, news and mass media and they are much freer than ever to express themselves in the choice of appearance, speech, clothing, arts, entertainment etc.
A number of women have moved up into the executive positions.
Women now make up 4.6% of board members of Pakistani companies. About 22 percent of Pakistani females over the age of 10 now work, up from 14 percent a decade ago, government statistics show.
Working women have a very positive and transformational impact on society by having fewer children, and by investing more time, money and energies for better nutrition, education and health care of their children.
They spend 97 percent of their income and savings on their families, more than twice as much as men who spend only 40 percent on their families.
It has been seen in general that women work with greater dedication and more meticulously than men.
For example in Pakistan, women are 28% of the total workforce yet they generate 40% of production. At the same time it is a general law of capitalism that women workers are paid less than their male counterparts all around the world.
In a global gender gap survey by The World Economic Forum of 135 countries, Pakistan is placed at 134 in ranking (The Global Gender Gap Report 2012 showing a widening gap down from 112 in 2006 to 133 in 2011).
The study covers 135 countries representing more than 90 percent of the world’s population.
It shows that overall, 88 percent of the countries covered in 2006-2012 have improved their performance, while 12 percent have widening gaps. Unfortunately Pakistan lies on top of this 12 percent.
“Realizing the widening gender gap and the obscured status of women in socioeconomic development, especially focusing on the gender dimension of science and technology (S&T),PCST has now taken the initiative to collect the data of women representation in S & T”, Dr. Mudasar said.