Male Champions of Change Pakistan commit to gender equality priorities for the year ahead

Members of the Male Champions of Change Pakistan held their quarterly meeting at Telenor Pakistan Campus 345 to further their commitment to achieve gender equality and accelerate the advancement of more and diverse women into leadership. Comprising 15 active Members who lead approximately 55,000 employees across the nation, the Male Champions of Change Pakistan includes representatives from sectors including hospitality, consumer goods, telecommunications, retail, textile, financial services, information technology, microfinance, logistics, and media.

Founded in Australia, in 2010, the Champions of Change Coalition was extended internationally to Pakistan in 2018 with CEOs from Telenor Pakistan, Serena Hotels, PepsiCo Pakistan, and EY Ford Rhodes.

The quarterly Champions Meeting was attended by leaders from the private sector committed to the cause, including new Member CEOs from Jazz Pakistan, L’Oreal Pakistan, Interloop Limited, Swyft Logistics, Bank of Khyber and Liberty Mills.

Members expressed their commitment to create a fair, diverse, and inclusive world, shaped by empowered women in every industry. Members from companies including Swyft Logistics and Interloop committed to increase women’s employment rate up to 30% by 2025, and to play a bigger role in countering the challenges faced by women within and outside the workplace. Telenor Pakistan’s Irfan Wahab Khan spoke of his company’s leadership through delivering programs designed specifically for women to get back into the workforce after long breaks, increased representation in all job groups, and a fair, desirable working environment.

The Members endorsed their Action Groups for 2022-23. In addition to continuing specific efforts on flexible work, gender-balanced recruitment and a gender-balanced public image, the leaders committed to new priorities such as addressing sexual harassment, everyday sexism / everyday respect and building champions beyond the CEO level, to create more inclusive workplaces.

Convenor of the Male Champions of Change Pakistan Group, Fiza Farhan commented on the occasion, “The Male Champions of Change Pakistan is a testament to the leadership and commitment of male leaders in the country to support women and create progressive workforces through positive change. I am delighted to see the group expand with promising practices emerging from the Coalition’s work that would enable all members to catalyse their journey towards being more diverse & inclusive organizations”

Since inception, Male Champions of Change Members have embedded programs and targets which facilitate women’s workforce participation and progression in a number of ways across the country.

Speaking about the organisation’s efforts to date, Telenor Pakistan’s CEO, Irfan Wahab Khan said; “We are focused more than ever towards an inclusive culture that helps us draw strengths from our differences, increase creativity and be more productive. Our flagship Naya Aghaz program started with an aim to provide employment to women on career break, but our ambition now is to prioritise targeted recruitment, development and advancement of women as part of this program. Our renewed and intense diversity agenda is supported through our partnership with GSMA Connected Women to increase the proportion of our women’s customer base from 23% to 30% by 2023. We are ensuring focus towards women’s participation and empowerment through various programs like Open Mind, Khushhal Aangan, Girls Learn Women Earn, Safe Internet and digital learning.”

In November 2021 L’Oreal Pakistan introduced ‘Best of Both Worlds’, a 3 days onsite, 2 days offsite policy to provide employees a healthy work-life balance especially focusing on young mothers and women employees. In September 2021, Swyft Technologies set a rousing precedent in their industry by launching “The Monthlies” for women which are paid period leave days. Jazz’s “She’s Back” program introduced in January 2022 welcomes female employees back to work after periods of hiatus for any reason.

From 2020-2021 EY Ford Rhodes saw total female employees rise by 17% to 23% due to various D&I interventions including effort towards gender balanced recruitment. Their next challenge is to have more women in leadership positions. In Pakistan’s textile sector, in July 2021 Interloop announced an ambitious target of growing its women’s employee base from 8% to 30% by 2025.

Speaking about L’Oreal Pakistan’s commitment towards creating an inclusive and progressive workforce, CEO Junaid Murtaza said; “At L’Oreal Pakistan, a conscious effort of improving the inclusion ecosystem is underway, both in structural and behavioural design. Be it through fundamentals like improving our parental leave policy, providing day-care and mental health support, to organisation wide upskilling and appreciation of DE&I or focusing on the entire spectrum of how we recruit, retain and help our women employees advance to leadership. We remain committed to create an impact, and our membership of MCC will further help accelerate the progress of like-minded companies to be the change agents in Pakistan.”

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