UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency marked International Women’s Day in Pakistan with a number of activities jointly organized with refugees, UN Women and other partners. March 8 is a day for celebrating the achievements of women globally and raising awareness about the importance of gender equality.
In recognition of the important role that women have played in the response to COVID-19, the theme of International Women’s Day in 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.
UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida, expressed her solidarity with all women, but particularly with refugee women in Pakistan, who are active in the service of their communities and bravely making a difference for all.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, until now, I have seen daily examples of women leading the way to deliver care in our communities. Women working as doctors and nurses, and also in other critical response services. Their bravery in the face of personal danger was and is inspiring. Women not only play important roles in our communities, they are real heroes,” she said.
In Islamabad, UNHCR held a virtual event on the importance of mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response, the multiple ways it has impacted individuals and families. A psychologist, female refugees and local youth participated as speakers. An Afghan community elder also delivered remarks to advocate for girls’ education and for greater participation of women in community roles.
In Haripur, UNHCR, in cooperation with GIZ and IMC, presented ‘change-maker’ certificates and gifts to women and men who have made important contributions to their communities, including community Outreach Volunteers, teachers, health workers and entrepreneurs.
In Quetta, UNHCR, UN Women and FAO co-organized an event, in collaboration with the Women Development Department, to highlight stories of different initiatives and efforts that made a difference in the response to COVID-19 in Balochistan.
In Chaghi, UNHCR and its partner WESS, held an open forum together with the participation of male community members to discuss how community awareness can be successful in preventing and ending violence against women. In Saranan, Pishin and Loralai, WESS also held seminars led by religious leaders and prominent community members to promote women’s rights.
In Islamabad, Lahore, Mianwali, Karachi and Peshawar, another UNHCR partner, SHARP, held student debates and sports events to promote girl’s education.
UNHCR’s partner ICMC hosted a poster competition for children and art therapy classes.