Islamabad, 10 March 2023 (TDI): In a recent interview Riina Kionka, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan said that gender equality and just program are the heart of our work.

EU has developed the Gender Action Plan to ensure gender equality in all of its development projects. In Pakistan, 85% of development work fully incorporates the gender lens.

She mentioned that gender inequality is something that is also high in Europe as well but the EU has a strategy to combat it as it is introducing programs that are very much high in terms of gender-just actions.

She added, in Pakistan EU is highly focused on gender programs and working very closely with the commission on the status of women and also with the commission of human rights.

In Pakistan, there is a high need to focus on gender-equal action and we on behalf of the European Union are quite focused on gender-inclusive programs.

In her message on International Women’s Day 2023, Riina Kionka mentioned that women are the heart of our work, especially the initiative we take in Pakistan. We believe that equal representation exists in all areas of work and in leadership roles.

She also mentioned that she was very proud to have a group of very strong and competent working women around her.

She added, that together Pakistan and the EU can work to empower thousands of women around us in Pakistan through skill development, access to resources, and opportunities to grow and excel.

She also shared that the EU is taking massive action for gender equality as it recently sanctioned 9 individuals who were very high in gender unequal action at multiple levels.

Those individuals included two acting Taliban Ministers, Officers of Moscow Police, and an Officer of the Russian Armed Forces. She mentioned EU is very high in promoting gender equality at all levels.

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Ms. Zartasha Niazi is Communication, Advocacy, and Media expert who working with development and humanitarian both national and international organizations for the last 13 years. Her areas of expertise include designing and developing robust communications strategies including positioning of social media, storytelling, and filmmaking on both humanitarian and development issues and advocating for the rights of women and marginalized segments of society. During her services to CARE International in Pakistan, she awarded with "Best Communicator Award" from CARE Global. She is currently leading the Action for Impact. Started her career in 2008, She has traveled to Switzerland, and represented Pakistan at United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland several times to advocate and communicate the rights of the marginalized. Through her innovative approach, she initiated various campaigns in different organizations on Gender Equality, Maternal Reproductive Health, and WASH. In addition, she is associated with National Youth Assembly, Women Democratic Front, and Every Women Treaty. Her poetic blog book “Words of Wisdom” was recently published, in which she tried to come up with inspirational quotes and poetry for women's empowerment, humanity, and peace. Her other publications include articles on women empowerment and climate change, Policy Monitor on the implementation of 18th Constitutional Amendment, Human Rights Report 2009 Jammu & Kashmir, FAFEN Fortnightly Newsletter, CARE Quarterly Newsletter, Pakistan Humanitarian Forum weekly bulletin, quarterly newsletter, and monthly reports, Infographics to Eradicate Poverty, Documentaries on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health, and several research briefs.