By Kazim Alam, The Express Tribune
KARACHI: The usual comings and goings of people may be a thing of the past as far as the abandoned residence of the US consul general on Fatima Jinnah Road is concerned. But Friday was an exception, as the top US diplomat in Karachi, Michael Dodman, welcomed a select group of journalists there for a briefing on US-Pakistan Economic Engagement for Empowerment of Women in Pakistan.
Sitting beside a couple of senior US diplomats, Dodman told the journalists that his focus during the past few months had exclusively been on building stronger economic ties between the two countries to help spur Pakistan’s economy.
Speaking on the occasion, US Coordinator for Civilian Assistance to Pakistan Robin Raphel said engaging more women in economic activity had become one of the core tenets of American foreign policy under the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Women empowerment has been one of the key foreign policy interests in Pakistan for us,” Raphel said.
Describing the role of the US-Pakistan Women Council, which was founded in September with the Department of State and American University as its co-founders, council’s executive director Sara Peck said it will link American and Pakistani companies, foundations, universities and individual donors in order to increase economic opportunities for women.
According to the website of the Department of State, the council will not be a grant-giving organisation, as it will broker connections for collaboration to support such economic opportunities for women.
Peck said the council will try to bring those women into the workforce, who were educated but were not contributing to the economy as active members for some reason.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8, 2012.