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Professor Alnoor Bhimani inaugurated the Centre for Business and Society at the business school at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on 21 January 2019. The Centre aims to provide a space for debate, engagement and research on the issues affecting and progress toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Professor Bhimani has served on LUMS’ business school advisory board and was named its ‘honorary dean’. The inauguration event focused on gender equality issues. Professor Bhimani commented on the adverse impact which violence against women has on culture, society and the economy generally and noted the dismal record of developing countries across the globe in honouring gender equality. No country on earth treats women at par with men. The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap gives an 85.8% score to Iceland as the most gender neutral country in the world seconded by Norway at 83.5%. At the bottom are Pakistan (55%) and Yemen (49.9%). Achieving parity in countries at the bottom could take 200 years within the status quo of activities. Professor Bhimani stated that accelerating SDG goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls must today be a priority. Financial inclusion is key to the advancement of societies across the globe. He noted how progress toward SDG 5 could be aided if all persons committed to “just put her first” in every decision made that could lead to increasing women’s participation in the workforce, closing the pay gap between men and women, enabling more women to advance into leadership roles and grounding gender parity in the future of work.
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