The event, held to celebrate the International Women’s Day with the theme of “Break the Bias”, focused on various challenges being faced by the working women in the country and the need of diversity in all the fields, including corporate, finance, engineering and others.
In her welcoming note, WCCIK President Sahibzadi Mahin Khan thanked the management of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI), Habib Bank Limited and other participants.
“Women are the real architects of society as they not only work for themselves but for the whole of society. Women these days are making their contribution in all fields of life and today’s event is aimed at recognising their efforts,” she said.
Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world to recognise women’s political, economic and social contribution to the society, she said, adding that women now work shoulder to shoulder with men and they need to work together for their mutual goals and help each other to break the barriers.
FPCCI Vice President Shabbir Mansha Churra while congratulating women on the occasion, said that the FPCCI has four chambers of women in Karachi which are assisting women of all fields.
“It is a great feeling to participate in this event. Women are working towards the goals of equal rights, breaking stereotypes and a mutual future. According to research, gender diverse organisations are 15 per cent more successful compared with less diverse organisations,” he added.
Around seven million women are working in the agriculture sector whose contributions are not recognised and there is a need to reach out to these hardworking women, he said, while stressing for more inclusion of women in all sectors.
HBL Islamic Banking Products and Operations Head M Mujeeb Baig said that Islam has bestowed all rights upon women and fixed their share in inheritance, social and economic fields.
“The holy book of Quran gave the same characteristics to women similar to men. The religion of Islam has the utmost respect for women and their rights are described in Quran,” he added.
A panel discussion and Q&A session was held where KPMG in Pakistan Partner Muneeza Butt, WCCIK former president Dr Tasneem Kausar, HBL Islamic Banking Products and Operations Head M Mujeeb Baig, HBL Shariah Board Member Mufti Yahya Qasim, FPCCI Vice President Shaukat Ali Omerson, Katalyst Labs Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jehan Ara discussed the women inclusion in all fields of life and the challenges faced by them.
The panelists said that more than 50 per cent of the population consists of women and it is not acceptable if they are sitting in their homes without being provided opportunities to grow.
They pointed to fact that more women are getting education in different fields but these women do not transit to working life as it is a norm in the country that they get married as soon as they complete their education, adding that there is a need to create environment where women are provided opportunities and facilities to play a more active role in national economy and society.
The panelists urged for daycare centres for women at work, maternity leave transport, and other facilities so they could easily manage their family and working life.
The salary parity between men and women was discussed and it was agreed by the panelists that organisations should work towards a model where men and women are equally paid for their work and services provided. WCCI Malir President Nazli Abid Nisar said that although women are more than a half of the country’s population, they account for only 4 per cent of the labour and a mere one per cent of these women are entrepreneurs.
“Women do not have many opportunities due to the structural and social differences present in the country. Despite that, there are many women entrepreneurs in the country who continue to do business without the presence of marketing support needed to run business,” she added.
WCCI East President Mehreen Elahi said that women working in rural areas are not being recognised and supported as needed and organisations need to reach out to them and support them given that the women in rural areas need much more support than the urban areas.
“Our coming generations need to stand up on their feet and women could play an important role in achieving that target given proper opportunities and environment,” she added.