HYDERABAD: A women rights awareness walk was undertaken at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro to mark the 41st International Women’s Day to accentuate women’s rights in society on Thursday.Organised by SU’s Institute of Gender Studies, a gigantic awareness walk was carried out from the mausoleum of varsity’s founder and vice chancellor Allama II Kazi which was led by Sindh University Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat.Addressing the participants and later talking to reporters, Professor Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat said that true liberation of women came from their socio-economic and gender emancipation initiatives, adding that only an annual celebration was not enough to mark women’s importance in society. “We will be organising round the year seminars and symposiums and invite the female students to lead and participate in poster, essay writing, short story, debate, street theatre, and skits based on women empowerment and the prizes would be distributed to those who would excel in these competitions,” he said.Dr Burfat categorically remarked that University of Sindh was one of those proud campuses in the country where there was zero presence of any anti-women rules, regulations, practices or culture. He said SU was a women-friendly university with highest regard, most comfortable zone and maximum space for women to work and thrive in a stress-free environment.He stressed the importance of women handicrafts, women industries and the increasing role of women in the current complex and challenging economic scenario in Pakistan and the world. “For women empowerment, the universities-industries nexus is necessary; we can provide higher education to the women and the industrialists must come forward to create the sources of livelihood for them in order to help them get on their feet,” Dr Burfat said.He also spoke on how the varsity girls could find out their hidden talents by knowing themselves, enhancing skills to tune and shaping their talents themselves for a better future.Dr Burfat underlined the need for educating women so that they could play an active role in the development of the country adding that the goals of development could not be achieved without educating and mainstreaming women as equal partners.Dr Burfat said that women were equal to men in every way even in the concept of nationhood and any attempt to isolate, degrade, deprive or marginalise them of their rights should not be tolerated. “Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in her capacity as the first premier of the Islamic world had always led from the front in nation’s quest for progress, prosperity, peace and equality,” the vice chancellor said.Dr Burfat stressed the need for economic empowerment of women and ensuring equal opportunities for them in all spheres of life, arguing that only then the attitude of this male-dominated society towards the fairer segment would change.Civil society leader and women rights activist Dr Arfana Mallah on the occasion highlighted various reasons leading to the failure of society in empowering women, who constituted 49 percent of the total population. She advocated ensuring protection to women from excesses, ranging from domestic violence to murder.She further said that celebrating the international women day was actually applauding women’s global struggle for their empowerment and renewing the commitment to the cause. She said the aim of the struggle was transforming society into the one that was free from all kinds of discrimination against women.Dr Arfana Mallah observed that more women were coming forward and proving their mettle in the fields of politics, economics, public administration and other fields. “But we cannot claim to be having a society free from gender-based discrimination as gender inequality can still be seen in many spheres of life. There is low representation of women in public offices and decision- making bodies and leadership,” she argued.SU Institute of Gender Studies Director Dr Misbah Bibi Qureshi said that the role of women could not be ignored while addressing any issue, be it education, health, climate change, extremism, terrorism or political and economic stability of the country. Therefore, she added, full empowerment of women would greatly help the state to cope with issues and crises. She also welcomed the walk participants and the vice chancellor in her capacity as event hostess.Those who participated in the walk included SU Thatta Campus focal person Professor Dr Sarfraz Hussain Solangi, Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Dr Nagina Parveen, renowned writer, poetess and columnist Amar Sindhu and a large number of faculty, officers, employees, students, civil society activists and women rights campaigners.The participants of the walk were carrying banners and placards bearing women-support slogans.Published in Daily Times, March 9th 2018.