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Women’s Empowerment through Social Safety Nets

April 25, 2019 - 12:30-13:30

Lunch talk with Marvi Memon on the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in Pakistan.

The recent history of successful social safety nets (SSN) in the South have clearly demonstrated that the goals of poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment are intricately linked. Pakistan’s largest social safety net namely the ‘Benazir Income Support Programme’ (BISP) is a case study for this. Set up in 2008 under the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, after a decade, BISP is now experiencing its third political government. Despite the change of political governments, from PPP to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) to the current Pakistan Tehrik Insaaf (PTI), the program has remained committed to its original objectives and has achieved progress in both the women’s empowerment and the poverty alleviation indicators. In most countries of the South political programs do not survive the shifts in political government and the original goals get lost. There are reasons why BISP is a successful role model for other SSNs of the region and this will also be examined in the context of women’s empowerment.

Bio: Marvi Memon is a humanitarian, former parliamentarian, cabinet member, and former CEO. Born in Karachi Pakistan in July 1972. After schooling from Karachi, Paris and Kuwait, she graduated from the London School of Economics with B.Sc (Econ.) Honors in International Relations in 1993. She has since worked for Citibank, been CEO of Pakistan’s first satellite tracking company, advised the President of Pakistan on Media Management, the Ministry of Investments, been a parliamentarian for two consecutive terms, an Information Committee Chairperson in parliament, Chaired as Minister the largest social safety net of Pakistan BISP, and is currently on a lecture tour of Europe. Ms. Memon has the distinction of being awarded the UK House of Commons Speaker Inaugural Democracy Award 2017, the French Officier de Merite award 2017 and Membership of the World Bank Advisory Gender Council 2017.

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Women’s Empowerment through Social Safety Nets


April 25, 2019


Nordic Institute of Asian Studies – NIAS
Asian Dynamics Initiative


NIAS, room 18.1.08, CSS, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Cph