Stressing the need for further creation of equal opportunities for the womenfolk in all fields of life, President Dr. Arif Alvi on Sunday said financial inclusion of women was imperative for their empowerment in society. Addressing as a chief guest at a ceremony arranged by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment at Workplace (FOSPAH) on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the president underlined the need for making collective efforts to ensure women’s inheritance rights, health, education, violence free environment and equal opportunities in all strata of society. He further linked the creation of awareness in the society about the importance of economic inclusion of women along with their inheritance rights which were flagrantly denied in the society due to prevalence of certain outdated cultural customs in different areas of the country. He said, “For the first time in the world’s history, the religion of Islam in very clear terms had ensured women’s rights to inheritance which even did not find place in the Western countries for long.” Such irrelevant barriers in the shape of cultural customs should be discarded with forceful adherence to the Islamic teachings and the contemporary laws. The Ulema’s role in this regard was critical for creation of mass awareness, he observed. The ceremony was attended by PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Federal Ombudsman Kashmala Tariq, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqi, prominent women personalities and representatives of different organizations. The president also referred to the government’s flagship of social security and welfare ‘Ehsas’ programme and said the government was committed to ensure social and economic betterment of womenfolk. Quoting a saying of founding father Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah about the significance of women’s role in society, he said womenfolk should be provided with violence and harassment free environment. The president noted that the government could not alone work over these issues, it could enact laws, but it was the collective cause and responsibility of all stakeholders to play their parts. He also opined that dropout rate of the female students from the schools was linked to certain social and economic conditions. Whereas in the secondary and intermediate levels, girl students were outshining the male students, but at the higher education level, their participation gradually diminished which indicated certain issues which should be addressed promptly, he added. The president also stressed upon creation of spaces for mothers at their workplaces to properly look after their nascent babies. The womenfolk in the country were confronted with serious health issues of malnutrition and stress, leading to child stunting and thus impacting the overall health of a family and ultimately society. The developed countries always carved ways to overcome their conflicts and controversies in their societies, he said noting that in the national building, it was necessary to resolve all the issues peacefully. He also lauded working of the FOSPAH which was established some ten years back, observing that 12 per cent increase was witnessed in filing of complaints, still there was need to encourage the victim women to register their grievances. The president informed that he had directed the Ombudsman office to entertain complaints over women’s inheritance rights. He said a proposal was also under consideration over giving of property as gift by the women members of a family to ensure their ownership rights. During the ceremony, documentaries showing contributions of notable women personalities in different fields and the performance of the FOSPAH were also screened.