Providing Friendly Professional Environment to Women

Aemen Javaria

Providing Friendly Professional Environment to Women

Deliberating upon the ‘Friendly Professions for Women’ in the fifth meeting of SGGI – Working Group on Women and Economy, Ms. Aemen Javaria highlighted in the beginning the general motives behind women’s engagement in the professional field; these motives may include the need to fulfill their basic needs, or the thirst to utilize and prove their skills and abilities in the field; some women, however, join any profession just as a pastime activity. The session was chaired by DG IPS Khalid Rahman.


SGGI Working Group on ‘Women & Economy’ holds its 5th Roundtable

Aemen JavariaDeliberating upon the ‘Friendly Professions for Women’ in the fifth meeting of SGGI – Working Group on Women and Economy, Ms. Aemen Javaria highlighted in the beginning the general motives behind women’s engagement in the professional field; these motives may include the need to fulfill their basic needs, or the thirst to utilize and prove their skills and abilities in the field; some women, however, join any profession just as a pastime activity. The session was chaired by DG IPS Khalid Rahman.


In western societies, a girl starts thinking about doing a job even in her teenage; it is because, she sees all around her women, including her mother, as working professionals; thus, a female child feels motivated to step into her mother’s shoes not only having an example in front, but that is the norm of life to her as well. By this, Ms. Javaria emphasized that if the environment of home and society is supportive and accommodating on one hand and compelling on the other hand, a woman has no other option but to join the professional field to practice her knowledge and express her abilities, while also sharing the economic burden of the family. However alongside, she emphasized, women should bear it in mind that their family life should not be neglected or suffer because of their professional commitments.


Discussing the rural women in particular, the presenter said that the rural women come out of home usually because of their economic needs that are augmented by inflation.  In the rural milieu, very few women indulge themselves in the economic activities for the sake of getting higher status in the society. Unlike them, this incentive urges the urban women to work outside home. After getting higher education, the urban women are, generally, motivated to link with the occupation, which gives them the feeling of being superior over their male counterparts. The professional work also gives them the intellectual and mental satisfaction.


Thus, now-a-days, a considerable number of urban women are found who earn money either to upgrade their standard of life, so as to spend a luxurious life, or to compete with men. This aim to contest men has made their work over-burdened, as they have to look after their homes as well.


Bushra HaiderIn accordance with their nature, women prefer intellectual work to the physical. No doubt, a female fighter pilot, for example, despite all her training, cannot fight in the battle, like her male colleagues. The example of first Pakistani female fighter pilot Saba Khan is in front of us. After having a complete training, she preferred the office work to the flying, and is now working in the PAF office.


It was pointed out in the presentation that ‘satisfaction’, ‘stratification’, and ‘priority’ are the parameters that women must weigh while selecting and continuing a job.


Discussing the nature of the job, she mentioned that while seeking a job, a woman should ensure that it is according to her qualification and social traditions; it should be the one, which could provide her the peace of mind and involved less public exposure. Also it should be seen that the policies at work should be women-friendly in terms of time and environment.


While choosing and carrying on with some profession, a woman should have in mind the code of ethics, moral values and her dignity, prior to money. In other words, while it is natural to look for a well paid job, she should give preference to a job that is respectable.


Stating the top suitable professions for women, Ms. Javaria opined that teaching, health, education policy-making, research work, translation/linguistics and journalism are the most suitable areas for women to work in, as these fields facilitated them to work easily in a comfortable environment. There are a lot of job opportunities for women in the field of computer science, including consultancy and e-marketing based jobs, at home as well as in the markets.


Home-based employment, involving the making of products at home, like tailoring, origami, making hosiery items, etc is also very good for women. Some field professions are also liked among women such as interior decoration, library-keeping, cooking, or acting as a food advisor, working on management posts, agriculture and telecommunication sectors. Law, too, is a respectable occupation in the country; so, a woman can work as a lawyer in public as well as in private firms.


Samina FazilDifferentiating the professions for rural and urban women, Ms. Javaria stated that in the rural scenario, an uneducated woman could work in capacity of support staff, in food services and in agriculture sector, while the urban women, after getting education, prefer the jobs in services sectors. In fact, the uneducated rural women have to do more hard work in form of the physical exertion; they may have to work largely out of home as compared to the educated urban women, who can offer their services even from their homes.


While concluding, she said that the socio-economic setup has now been changed owing to women’s eagerness to earn on their own. However, women should choose such type of professions, which do not contradict her nature, social and moral values, family and society, the presenter emphasized.


In the following discussion, it was stressed that the emphasis on home-based professions did not mean to ban women from going out of their homes; they might go to the office, to manage their necessary works. The basic purpose behind this is to help women avoid the problems at workplace.


It was pointed out that the cosmetic industry is very popular among women, on national as well as on global level. Besides, serving as a support staff is also a good occupation; paramedics, for example, are also the integral part of a medical staff, or a hospital; the doctors, alone, cannot run a hospital. Hence, such professions should also be given importance. People, generally, do not prefer them due to the lack of awareness.


Women can play their role in media as well; for example, they can utilize the best of their abilities in the media research department, which may help them to avoid the workplace problems, like the behavior of other people.


With the recent establishment of the ‘Women Chamber of Commerce’ in Islamabad, women have a platform, which they can use to raise their voice and solve their problems. They can also work there, as already, there are 100 female members of the Chamber, who perform the economic activities from their homes, and thus, are fulfilling both the duties i.e. of looking after home as well as business.


Fakiha MahmoodIt was also suggested that women could run a library at home, to develop and promote the positive social attitudes. The important thing is that if a highly educated woman stays at home not making use of her knowledge and expertise, her potential gets wasted; so, women-friendly environment should be built for them, in order to have maximum benefit of their skills.


Besides, it would be highly unproductive if a woman is forced to join a profession without knowing if her capabilities and skills are relevant to it or not. The selection of profession should be according to her qualities, not on the basis of gender. In fact, if a woman has the aptitude for a specific job, she can do it very well even from her home.


A woman should always bear in mind, the importance of her role in the family. Both men and women have to play their basic role, though differently. Family should never be taken as for granted, as it is the basic unit of household economy. Even a highly educated woman should, first of all, utilize her abilities to look after her children properly, regarding it as her foremost duty. In fact, a need is there to highlight the betterment of individual, family and society with reference to women’s involvement in the economic activities and men’s indulgence in household activities.


A suggestion was put forward that the government should start some training programs for the women, who prepare the home-made artifacts, so as to give professionalism to their work and improve the quality of the products.


Khalid RahmanConcluding the session, Mr. Khalid Rahman said that the ultimate objective of any profession is the achievement of satisfaction. Associating satisfaction with money and materialism only, which is a common approach these days, is not an ideal approach. Occupations like household management and some voluntary and relief work come under the definition of satisfaction. However, satisfaction varies from person to person; principally, it should be defined considering the social and moral values in addition, misconceptions exist about the planning of education and job market in relation to the gender issues. In this connection, it needs to be realized that unemployment or lack of ideal job opportunities are not gender-specific issues; these are national issues that can only be solved with a comprehensive approach rather than connecting to a particular gender as often done by some groups and people either out of ignorance or due to vested interests. Besides, proper attention should be paid to build proper linkages in education and professional job market, both at individual as well at government level.


He further argued that rather than the individual alone, his/her whole family should be involved in such planning for him/her, so as to produce even better results. Moreover, the decisions and planning should be made at societal level, bearing in mind the social values.
It was also highlighted that the ideal profession is closely linked with ideal education, and ideal education is not the degree-oriented education, rather it is the one that a child gets at home by his/her mother, in the first phase, and which is further enhanced by the improvement of knowledge and skills that make it purposeful, and finally leads to some kind of motivation and stimulation for contribution towards the development of society and community.
Besides, keeping in view the social importance of the institution of family, decisions must be made with mutual consultation and consent of all its members while shunning the probability of pressurizing or intimidating any individual, he underlined.

October 27, 2009

Share this post