EFP actively working on Gender Equality and Equity ~~ EFP President
Malik Tahir Javaid, President Employers Federation of Pakistan, stated that EFP is the leading employers’ body that has been actively working to empower women with equal access to decent work, promote gender equality, and eliminate all forms of discrimination at home and at the workplace which is in line with its mission to make Pakistani’s economy prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive. EFP has also taken the lead in creating awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ILO Decent Work Agenda, especially SDG 5 on Gender Equality and SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth. He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the Global Compact Network Pakistan event on Target Gender Equality in Islamabad.
Malik Tahir Javaid informed that EFP started a campaign on Women Empowerment in collaboration with the International Labor Organization under a project that is an initiative of the Government of Japan. It is aimed to promote the inclusivity of females in the active workforce through enterprise-level policy recommendations and female entrepreneurship. It would also address the formalization of Domestic Workers in Pakistan through a Code of Conduct for employers of Domestic Workers. EFP has organized several training programs and awareness raising sessions on ILO’s Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work.
Majyd Aziz, President Global Compact Network Pakistan, in his welcome address highlighting the Target Gender Equality initiative, said that it is a global program to support UN Global Compact business participants in setting and meeting ambitious targets for equal participation and leadership across all levels of management, as well as to advance equal pay for work of equal value. He disclosed that over 2,000 companies around the world, including eighteen from Pakistan, have joined the program from over seventy countries. More than 4,000 “change makers” are involved in this program. He added that GCNP would equip companies with latest data and research to support them to build a case for gender equality. He was hopeful that by end of 2023, the number of Pakistani companies would cross thirty.
Mian Akram Farid, Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that it is the responsibility of employers to provide jobs to women and to ensure a conducive working environment. He advised that pilot projects in SME sector should be started for women and that Women Chambers Council and various mainstream Chambers and Associations should play a prominent role in facilitating these pilot projects. He disclosed that none of the hotels in Pakistan has a woman Head Chef and this is a sad story. Women should be allowed to work on machines and jobs that are traditionally done by men.
Hina Mansab Khan, Chairperson of Women Chambers Council, said that since last couple of decades, she has been struggling to create an ecosystem for women to have their own Chambers and positions as office bearers of FPCCI. She deplored the attitude of many who indulge in character assassination of women who are actively involved in trade bodies. She called upon all in the private sector to ensure that women are given respect, equality, and positions in decision-making.
Fiza Farhan, an Advisor to UN Secretary General and well known consultant, conducted an interactive training program in which mostly women in the audience enthusiastically participated. She motivated them by stating that women are an asset in any organization and together women can bring change. She said it is high time an environment be created that would use reverse psychology to get those women who face gender and other issues and help get them out of depression. She advised that a “pressure cooker” approach is required to comfort and educate women who face work related issues.
Many women in the audience informed about their personal efforts, difficulties, and initiatives, and offered ideas and solutions. The consensus was that positions and jobs in private sector should be gender-blind, that women themselves should demonstrate flexibility with regard to equality, that women should be on policy making boards, that the practice of unnecessarily forcing women employees to work late hours, and that ensuring not only equality but also participation in equity.
Mostly entrepreneurs and career-based women attended the Target Gender Equality event from Islamabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, and they complimented GCNP for organizing this event. Samreen Shaikh and Zainab Fatima of GCNP, assisted by consultant Fauzia Mahmood, moderated and coordinated the program.