On the third day of her first visit to Pakistan as Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet Minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi (Chairman of the UK Conservative Party and Cabinet Minister without Portfolio) gave a keynote speech at Fatima Jinnah University in Rawalpindi.
At an event organised by the Ministry of Women’s Development and hosted by Fatima Jinnah University, Baroness Warsi took part in a panel discussion on the theme of “Women and Leadership”.
The panel, moderated by broadcaster Saima Mohsin, comprised of the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Social Affairs, Shahnaz Wazir Ali; the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Women’s Development Yasmeen Rehman; the Vice-Chancellor of Fatima Jinnah Womens University Mrs Saeeda Asadullah Khan; Dr Shahla Javed Aslam, Chairwoman of Chamber of Commerce; and Ms Nasreen Azar, Co-Chair of the National Commission for the Status of Women.
Baroness Warsi said:
“I have had a fantastic few days in Pakistan. Everywhere I have been, people have given me an amazingly warm welcome.
“Of course it is great that a woman, a Muslim, whose family originated in Pakistan can get into the British Cabinet. But it’s wrong to think of this as somehow exceptional and, to the extent that it is exceptional, it shouldn’t be.
“We need to give women the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to stand up for themselves. We need to give women the power to sweep away all those cultural stigmas and chauvinistic laws which suffocate them. And for me: that boils down to one thing - education”