Islamabad – Pakistan’s young activist and artist, Muniba Mazari, has been named as Pakistan’s first female Goodwill Ambassador by UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. As the Goodwill Ambassador, she will work to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
“I am a strong supporter of UN Women and the role we have in ending gender-based discrimination, and working towards gender equality, making it a lived reality by 2030. We need to educate both men and women if we want to eliminate gender-based discrimination from the country and from the world, and for this we’ll have to work together as one” said Muniba Mazari, speaking at the event.
“This is the time to empower women and girls because when you empower one woman, you empower the whole generation.”
In her new role as National Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan, artist-activist-writer/singer and motivational speaker, Muniba will dedicate her efforts towards the empowerment of women and girls, and would serve as an advocate for UN Women’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” and other campaigns advocating for change to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential, whilst engaging men and boys to take a stand and speak up for women’s rights as human rights.
For the last seven years, Muniba has been in a wheelchair after a car accident left her with spinal cord injury. But she didn’t let the wheelchair bring her hopes and dreams down. Since then, she has represented the voice of women, men, girls and boys across Pakistan on important issues of gender inequalities, discrimination and determination to not give up and win against the odds.
Recently named as one of BBC’s 100 Women for 2015, Muniba’s voice and support to UN Women and to our ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality” initiative, will ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment stay at the forefront of the sustainable development agenda.
Muniba’s passion and conviction for women and girls’ rights will stimulate a multiplier effect that together with UN Women will reach the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan and beyond.
Muniba shared her excitement on Twitter too after being chosen as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador:
“We are thrilled and honored to have Muniba Mazari as UN Women Pakistan’s first Goodwill Ambassador who epitomizes the core values of UN Women and serves as an inspirational force for hundreds of thousands of women and men in Pakistan and abroad. We are the generation with a real possibility to conquer adversity and fundamentally make a positive change” said Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative for UN Women Pakistan.
H.E. Mr. Tomas Rosander, Ambassador of Sweden, highlighted Sweden’s longstanding commitment to both human rights as well as gender equality and remarked “Gender equality is a goal in itself. But it is also a prerequisite for a prosperous and sustainable society. Gender equality is highly cost effective; how could one afford to see half of the population not fully involved in a country’s future?”
Also addressing the audience was the Honorable Ms. Shaista Pervaiz (Secretary, Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Member of National Assembly) who welcomed UN Women’s announcement and said that women’s participation in the political arena in Pakistan continues to grow and that “many of the laws passed in recent years in Pakistan to curb harmful practices and discrimination against women would not have happened without the relentless advocacy and initiative of female members of parliament, along with a few strong male supporters”.
In congratulating Muniba on her appointment as UN Women’s National Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Neil Buhne (UN Resident Coordinator) emphasized that “women’s rights are human rights and that vigorously advocating for gender equality is not for UN Women to address alone, but that it is a crucial agenda that the entire UN system in Pakistan will continue to be deeply engaged in.”
Ashley Gold, President, Ericsson Pakistan, as co-host of the event, appreciated the increasing collaboration with UN Women.
The announcement of the new Goodwill Ambassador took place in the capital city, Islamabad, as the Saudi Pak Tower turned ORANGE in colour to mark the 16th Day of Activism against gender-based violence. Under a global initiative ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls’ led by UN Women on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, the campaign’s ORANGE colour reflects a bright and optimistic future for women and girls, and a life free from violence and discrimination.
Announcement of Muniba as Pakistan’s first female National Goodwill Ambassador for gender equality and women’s empowerment very timely follows the adoption by the Prime Minster of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, along with other world leaders, of a new development framework in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly. The new agenda based on seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, includes a stand-alone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as gender-sensitive targets within the other goals.