Speakers at a seminar here on Tuesday underscored the fact that women are among the disempowered and vulnerable groups in Pakistan and that it is imperative to challenge the discriminatory norms and practices so that inclusive and cohesive democratic practices lead to a representative and pluralistic society in the country. The seminar titled ‘Role of Women in Peacebuilding’ was organised by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar in collaboration with Paigham-e-Pakistan and Dukhtaran-e-Pakistan initiatives of the government of Pakistan. A large number of faculty members, women activists, civil society representatives and female students attended the event. Addressing the participants, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Vice Chancellor Dr Razia Sultana said women are the natural leaders and they have the key to the peace and development of a nation. Now is the right time for young women to realise their true potential and unleash their abilities to work toward the development of the society, she maintained, adding that role of educated women is vital for the development of the country. The vice chancellor said conflicts and crises have adversely affected the social and economic circumstances of women and girls in Pakistan. Ensuring women’s participation at all levels in decisions related to peace and security in the country is essential, she said, and stressed the need to take concrete measures at social and political levels that will pave the way for greater participation of women in peacebuilding and peace processes. Other speakers said that media needs to make conscious and serious efforts to change stereotypes about women in society, adding that women need to be provided adequate space and opportunities to discuss wider issues related to peace and security. They maintained that the promotion and achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment was a means to the elimination of extremism and terrorism, which glorify violence and aggression in the society. They said empowerment of women is crucial to advancing the culture of peace in all its vectors and at all levels in a family, community, country, region and globe. The basic objective of the activity was to highlight the role women can play in establishment of a peaceful and stable society by helping counter the prevalent challenges including hatred, extremism, violence and terrorism.