Across the world, first week of March is marked as a celebration, honoring some of the most resilient women on the planet. As societies continue to evolve, the role of women in different walks of life is diversifying too.

 

Today, women form a crucial pillar that supports growth in economies around the world, drives prosperous communities and paves the way for more inclusive development. Amidst the long list of nations where females are significant contributors to the economy, Pakistan has become an emerging nation. According to UN Women’s Status Report on Women’s Economic Participation and Empowerment in Pakistan, women account for 65% of the PKR 400 billion that Home-Based Workers contribute to Pakistan’s economy.

 

Women are about half of Pakistan’s total population and despite having a significant presence, they are an underutilized talent with only a little over 24% part of the active labor force . A huge role towards empowering females is played by entities like Telenor Pakistan in the corporate sector that are enabling women and giving them a level playing field to move ahead in their careers and contribute towards the society. Being one of the leading tech players in the country, it provides learning and growth opportunities in latest technologies and trends.

 

Fourteen years ago, Sana Khan, started off her career from Telenor Pakistan as an IT Operations Officer and today she is Director of Technology’s Strategy and Performance. When asked about female representation in the tech sector, she said, “The trend has changed not only internationally, but here in Pakistan as well. Women are actively choosing careers in technology sector and I think it’s a thing of the past that it was considered that women cannot pursue careers in technology. At the workplace, regardless of the marital status, security, collaboration and inclusive environment are of great significance at a workplace for women to be comfortable and I believe Telenor Pakistan has been the utmost enabler for me.”

 

Active participation of females in the economy is the catalyst Pakistan needs to develop and grow. It is important to understand this across all levels of the society and for both genders to support, mentor and develop a conducive and nurturing environment not only at work but also at home to help create a gender equal world. “Women empowerment is not something that someone gives to somebody, it’s there as a basic right. At the workplace, regardless of gender, it is the responsibility of the leaders to groom all team members for leadership roles. We need to create an environment where stereotypical gender roles are challenged, hindrances in women empowerment are removed and we create an environment where the female workforce are treated as equals. This should also be inculcated in children from the beginning so that they follow the right examples towards creating an equal and inclusive society” says Syed Faraz Shahid, who is Director of Sustainability, Safety and Security at Telenor Pakistan.

 

When we talk about a conducive environment, it is important to understand the various roles that women and men play in our society and the factors that would enable them to contribute better. There are multiple aspects a working woman in Pakistan has to account for especially when taking into consideration her role as a mother, daughter and wife. Sara Agha, Assistant Manager Products and Portfolio at Telenor Pakistan, is a mother and says that “the workplace empowers women at Telenor Pakistan especially those that have families to take care after we leave the office. From maternity leaves, to facilities like day care and transport, women have various benefits that provide that ease of mind and hence a level playing ground. Merit is upheld, and fair opportunities are given to employees regardless of their gender. I might not have continued my employment at Telenor Pakistan after I had my child if it wasn’t for facilities like an in-house day care center.”

 

Telenor Pakistan has become a benchmark in providing a diverse and inclusive environment. It has been acknowledged at the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks Award 2020 where it was awarded in the category of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Vision, Strategy & Business Case at the Best Practice Level alohng with Women Empowerment Award 2019 by OICCI and Diversity & Inclusion Best Practice Award by HR Metrics in 2019.