KARACHI: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) have announced a pledge by its members that aims to create more inclusive workplaces and empower women in the workforce across Pakistan.
This pledge was announced today in collaboration with UN Women as part of an ambition to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals towards gender equality and to serve as an inspiration for businesses in Pakistan and beyond. To further this commitment over the next three years, OICCI members will focus on establishing a conducive environment that enhances gender equality and develops women for high-level corporate leadership.
In moving towards the realisation of gender equality and women empowerment, UN Women Pakistan provides support to innovative initiatives that promote women rights, with a special focus on their economic security, political participation and freedom from violence.
OICCI President Khalid Mansoor highlighted, “OICCI members have a strong commitment towards gender balancing and have pledged to support initiatives towards empowering women in the socio-economic growth of Pakistan”
UN Women Pakistan Country Representative Jamshed Kazi mentioned that “empowering women within the growing corporate sector is a challenge where, we believe, the private sector can be the “agents of change” to build a healthy environment where gender equality is considered a reality, encouraging more women to gain confidence in their ability to assume senior management positions as CEOs and member of the Board of Directors”.
OICCI CSR Subcommittee Chairman Bruno Olierhoek said, “The OICCI Women initiative wants to propose a concrete way forward, a “how to” manual, helping organisations to have a women-friendly work environment. I believe that OICCI together with UN Women can start a movement, in Pakistan, by promoting this simple and pragmatic approach and thus making a real impact.” Co-Chair Shazia Syed added “It is our responsibility as business leaders to recognise the business case for gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Today, we have provided a roadmap built on best practices within Pakistan’s industry to empower women for sustainable success.”
During the panellist discussion, the CEOs and senior management of MNCs spoke about best practices of their companies which has helped them to retain female talent and emphasised on its importance to be promoted in all organisations for gender-equality. These best practices included providing security and support for relocating, work with home-daycare, maximising their potential by making lean-in circles and formulating female orientated mentorship network.
The OICCI members will further work to increasing advocacy amongst members as well as voicing the initiative to support formulating policies at government level which would benefit gender diversity at workplaces in the country.
As part of their commitment to Pakistan, the OICCI has dedicated the CSR Report for 2016–17 to create a platform for women empowerment and gender equality. This aims at bringing all OICCI members under one umbrella for a concerted effort towards achieving the vision of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and becoming a source of inspiration for other businesses in Pakistan and beyond.