UN Women champions empowerment for desert women amid energy boom in Thar

Tractors and dump trucks busily transporting material for a coal-fired power plant bustle amid the softly sweeping sand dunes of the sprawling Thar desert, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Female dump-truck drivers are breaking stereotypes by driving 60-tonne trucks for Engro’s powerplant. Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas
Female dump truck drivers are breaking stereotypes by driving 60-tonne trucks for Engro’s powerplant. Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas

Powering her orange dump truck, Rukhsana, 37, seems unstoppable in making a mark in this male-dominated field: “Through this driving training, I gained the strength and courage to face the world. Initially, I got a lot of criticism from my community, but I knew in my heart that this is made for me and I shouldn’t let this chance slip by. With the money that I earn, I am getting an education for my two sons, and since we have a secure income, I can dream of sending my sons to college and university, in the future. They will become what I couldn’t—a doctor.”

In recent years, this natural-resource-rich region has attracted the attention of many local energy companies, bringing a boom in local employment opportunities. The push has also fuelled a surge in jobs for women, including in unconventional careers like transport, engineering, entrepreneurship, supply chain, etc.

In a bid to advance women’s empowerment activities and initiatives in Thar, from 5-7 September 2018, a UN Women delegation led by UN Women Pakistan’s Country Representative Jamshed M. Kazi visited Engro Energy Limited (EEL), along with its subsidiaries [1]. They came to support the company’s signing of the “Women’s Empowerment Principles”—an agenda produced by UN Women and the UN Global Compact to ensure that women can participate fully in economic life in all sectors.

Read the full story on UN Women's website for Asia and the Pacific

Notes

[1] Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL) and Thar Foundation (TF)