The Canadian High Commission organized a Women’s Economic Empowerment Forum in Islamabad to bring together its partners and key stakeholders for an exchange of ideas on successes, challenges, and lessons learned in women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan. Private sector, rural women, other donors, women’s organizations, civil society, project partners, researchers and government representatives were invited. Through this one-day event experience was shared and ideas were generated ideas on innovative ways of engaging the private sector, moving from policy to implementation and engaging the government in support of women’s participation in the economy. Rural women entrepreneurs were also invited to share their success stories.
Ayesha Taslim participated in the day long session as DSF representative. Participants were encouraged to bring along organizational display material. Standees, leaflets and pamphlets highlighting DSF mission and activities were put on display. Display of material gave all participating organizations to share their work areas.

In the dialogue session Ayesha Taslim raised the following points:

  • The entrepreneurship program has three steps; learning skills, achieving quality control and marketing of products.
  • Most of the training programs fail to take the product level to near perfection.
  • Therefore, the products do not match the commercial level and hence there are problems in marketing.
  • While the organizations were encouraged to display advocacy display material no products were on display. It would have been more meaningful if the work of participating women entrepreneurs was on display. This could have helped or supported the presentations for quality assessment leading to more meaningful discussion.

The above points were very well taken and generated supportive discussion.