A group of inspiring Australia Awards alumni met in Karachi, Pakistan earlier this year to explore the role entrepreneurship and leadership play in paving a path to peace.
The women, from Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, attended a roundtable discussion in Karachi on 25 February 2016. The roundtable was part of the Australia Awards South and West Asia program.
Participants included entrepreneurs, peace activists, and representatives of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Karachi Chamber of Commerce.
Margaret Adamson, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, told the roundtable of the link between gender equality and women’s empowerment and its contribution to growth, development and stability.
“Women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment not only benefits women and their families, but also promotes peace and security by enhancing women’s voices in decision-making, leadership and peace-building”
– Margaret Adamson
Speakers argued that communities needed to take more responsibility for promoting and supporting the culture of entrepreneurship and not expecting governments to always take the lead. They agreed that since countries in South West Asia face similar problems related to economic growth, it was important to share success stories and lessons learnt.
The previous day, the alumnae took part in a women’s leadership conference organised by the Pakistan Society for Training and Development. Successful entrepreneurs from various fields such as business, human resource management, fitness, beauty and online support groups spoke about the challenges and obstacles they faced as they created their businesses.