The Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)for empowerment of women in AJK.The MoU was signed on Wednesday by the Secretary of Women Development Department AJK, Mahmood Ahmad Khan and the Country Director UN Women,. Alice H. Shackelford. The MoU follows the recent notification of the State Policy Framework for Empowerment of Women and the establishment of the independent Women Development Department in AJK. The purpose of this MoU is to maximize the technical assistance, cooperation and coordination between the Government of AJK and UN Women to ensure the commitment by both these parties to work effectively towards the empowerment of women in AJK.The Chief Guest, Prime Minister of AJK, Mr. Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, appreciated UN Women for keeping to its commitment to the Government of AJK and the technical support that it has been providing in moving forward the agenda of gender equality and women’s empowerment in AJK, particularly its support to the Women’s Development Department and Social Welfare Department. The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in AJK. While recognizing that women make up half the population and continue to lag behind men in almost all walks of life, he stated that the Government of AJK will continue to take equitable measures to ensure women’s participation in the economic, social and political spheres demonstrable commitments, passage of pro-women legislation and the development of policy measures to prevent all forms of discrimination against women. Ms. Alice Shackelford, Country Director for UN Women, recognized the great strides that the Government of AJK has taken recently, particularly the formulation of the State Policy Framework for Empowerment of Women, the segregation of the Women’s Development Department and the Social Welfare Department, and notification of the State Commission on Women and the Women Parliamentary Caucus.