“Empowering women is vital for socio-economic growth”

Islamabad: At the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we view women’s empowerment and capacity development as essential to Pakistan’s socio-economic growth. Our programming strives to engage more women as leaders and promote gender equality to help reach all Pakistanis.

USAID Education Bureau Director Anne Flaker expressed these views Monday during the opening session of a training workshop on “Women’s Leadership in Higher Education,” held through the USAID-funded Higher Education System Strengthening activity.

The three-day workshop is designed for women’s leadership in higher education, attended by 30 female faculty, including department heads, administrators, finance experts, as well as management and academic affairs of HESSA partner higher education institutions (EES).

Anne Flaker welcomed the female faculty participants and emphasized the need for them to identify their leadership strengths and areas for growth. Speaking as the chief guest, the Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Shaista Sohail commended the Higher Education System Strengthening Activity Project for the implementation of a timely initiative to develop a cadre of women leaders in higher education. “I look forward to continuing this discourse in creating an enabling and healthy working environment for women’s leadership in Pakistan,” she remarked.

Former Prime Minister’s Social Sector Advisor and current President of SZABIST, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, during her opening speech, highlighted the importance of women’s leadership in creating a more informed society. She also stressed the importance of problem-solving skills.

The Higher Education System Strengthening Activity is a five-year, $19 million project implemented by the University of Utah and its consortium partners, the University of Alabama and the Institute of International Education, in collaboration with some 15 public sector universities in Pakistan, which include five female universities. The project focuses on building the capacity of HEIs to deliver market-oriented education and research to improve the employability of graduates.

Mara R. Wilmoth