ISLAMABAD,10 December: UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, names Muniba Mazari as Pakistan’s first female Goodwill Ambassador to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
The announcement took place in Islamabad, the Country’s capital city, as the Saudi Pak Tower located in ‘Blue Area’ turned ORANGE in colour to mark the 16th Day of Activism against gender-based violence. Under a global initiative ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls’ led by UN Women on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, the campaign’s ORANGE colour reflects a bright and optimistic future for women and girls, and a life free from violence and discrimination.
In her new role as National Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan, artist-activist-writer/singer and motivational speaker, Muniba will dedicate her efforts towards the empowerment of women and girls, and would serve as an advocate for UN Women’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” and other campaigns advocating for change to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential, whilst engaging men and boys to take a stand and speak up for women’s rights as human rights.
Muniba, who for over the last seven years has been in a wheelchair after a car accident that left her with spinal cord injury, has represented the voice of women, men, girls and boys across Pakistan on important issues of gender inequalities, discrimination and determination to not give up and win against the odds. Muniba’s passion and conviction for women and girls’ rights will galvanize a multiplier effect that together with UN Women will reach the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan and beyond.
Announcement of Muniba as Pakistan’s first female National Goodwill Ambassador for gender equality and women’s empowerment very timely follows the adoption by the Prime Minster of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, along with other world leaders, of a new development framework in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly. The new agenda based on seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, includes a stand-alone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as gender sensitive targets within the other goals.
Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative for UN Women Pakistan announced: “We are thrilled and honored to have Muniba Mazari as UN Women Pakistan’s first Goodwill Ambassador who epitomizes the core values of UN Women and serves as an inspirational force for hundreds of thousands of women and men in Pakistan and abroad. We are the generation with a real possibility to conquer adversity and fundamentally make a positive change.” Recently named as one of BBC’s 100 Women for 2015, Muniba’s voice and support to UN Women and to our ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality” initiative, will ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment stay at the forefront of the sustainable development agenda.
Speaking at the event, Muniba Mazari said: “I am a strong supporter of UN Women and the role we have in ending gender-based discrimination, and working towards gender equality, making it a lived reality by 2030. We need to educate both men and women if we want to eliminate gender based discrimination from the country and from the world, and for this we’ll have to work together as one. This is the time to empower women and girls because when you empower one woman, you empower the whole generation”.
Also addressing the audience was the Honorable Ms. Shaista Pervaiz (Secretary, Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Member of National Assembly) who welcomed UN Women’s announcement and said that women’s participation in the political arena in Pakistan continues to grow and that “many of the laws passed in recent years in Pakistan to curb harmful practices and discrimination against women would not have happened without the relentless advocacy and initiative of female members of parliament, along with a few strong male supporters”.
H.E. Mr. Tomas Rosander (Ambassador of Sweden) highlighted Sweden’s longstanding commitment to both human rights as well as gender equality and remarked “Gender equality is a goal in itself. But it is also a prerequisite for a prosperous and sustainable society. Gender equality is highly cost effective; how could one afford to see half of the population not fully involved in a country’s future?”
Mr. Ashley Gold (President, Ericsson Pakistan) as co-host of the event, appreciated the increasing collaboration with UN Women. In its role as a commissioner on the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, and a Board member of the UN Foundation, and a member of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Ericsson participates with the UN and industry leaders to discuss policy recommendations for implementing broadband to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Among others, these discussions also explore the role of ICT in supporting gender equality.
In congratulating Muniba on her appointment as UN Women’s National Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Neil Buhne (UN Resident Coordinator) emphasized that “women’s rights are human rights and that vigorously advocating for gender equality is not for UN Women to address alone, but that it is a crucial agenda that the entire UN system in Pakistan will continue to be deeply engaged in.”
UN Women is thankful to the Management of Saudi Pak Tower, Ericsson Pakistan, and to Philips Pakistan Limited for their support in lighting up Saudi Pak Tower in ORANGE to raise awareness and mobilize actions to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.