When women grow, families prosper and Pakistan’s progress women must be a part of the solution.
With this spirit, an innovative initiative has been started from the dynamic city of Karachi with K Electric, National Foods, Engro Corp, and Standard Chartered who will participate with the entrepreneurial innovator, CIRCLE Pakistan, on a program that commits to empowering women in the workplace starting Sept. 21st. This program is focused on increasing women’s participation in the growth of our economy and to develop their abilities to exercise leadership.
The program kicked off with a session on September 21st this year. On opening session Ms Sima Kamil, the first women to lead a large commercial bank in Pakistan gave a keynote speech and shared her own journey till now and encouraged participants. She also urged all of the women to think big, support each other and expand their networks. Sima shared how she said yes to opportunities in her career even when it was challenging.
Launch session was hosted by National Foods Pakistan, at the occasion CEO (National Foods) Abrar Hasan welcomed everyone and shared his commitment to promoting gender equality, he also emphasized that women should come forward to play a key role at the decision-making level.
The Elevate Pakistan is a 10 months program which includes Leadership programs, workshops, mentorship, webinars to grow women leaders. It will conclude with policy recommendations to promote women in the workforce and create cultures where women can thrive. Last week I was there at one of the workshops where CIRCLE founder Sadaffe Abid ran a workshop on a very demanding topic “Adaptive Leadership” with the participants.
“Adaptive leadership provides diagnostic tools and new solutions for addressing complex challenges and making progress so people can thrive”.
CIRCLE Pakistan is founded by Sadaffe Abid, former COO and CEO of Kashf Foundation, a leading microfinance organization in the country, ranked amongst the Top 50 by Forbes. Over 1,000 have publicly pledged to the #ElevatePak, a pledge that aimed at increasing women’s visibility in professional life and encouraging women’s participation on panels and forums. Now it is expanding from a pledge to engage with companies to grow women leaders and inspire CEOs to join hands to make progress on gender diversity.
Pakistani women’s participation in the workplace is growing, but a strategy aimed at helping them grow and progress with their organizations’ support while addressing challenges they may face in the workplace, provides a clear path which ensures those numbers will continue to rise. The Elevate program addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, and 17, internationally recognized markers of progress.
I believe the commitment to women’s empowerment by Engro Corporation, National Foods, Standard Chartered and K-Electric is a major milestone in Pakistan’s business community.
“The bigger goal behind Elevate is to catalyze wider stakeholders to make concrete commitments to promote women’s participation and advancement with the aim to build a more prosperous and equitable Pakistan.” Data shows that when women grow they invest back in their families in education, nutrition and healthcare. For every dollar that a woman earns, she invests back 90 cents. So when women thrive, families thrive and economies grow.
Global gender parity will add $ 28 trillion dollars to the economy and Pakistan also has huge gains to make if we invest in our women.
As Sadaffe Abid says, “women are the most under-utilized potential of our country and we must create opportunities to support them for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity. “