Karachi: Procter & Gamble (P&G) Pakistan has reinforced its commitment to promoting gender equality in the country through the #WeSeeEqual Dialogue, aimed to spark conversations and motivate change to build a better world for everyone. P&G remains steadfast in its approach to make a positive impact by promoting equal representation and opportunities for all individuals.
Held in partnership with UN Women Pakistan, the P&G #WeSeeEqual Dialogue brought together business and government leaders as well as influencers to share inspiration and discuss challenges that are preventing individuals and society from accelerating the progress of gender equality in the country. The panel speakers included Sami Ahmed, Vice President P&G Pakistan, Fareeha Ummar, Portfolio Manager, Women's Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihood, UN Women Pakistan, Javed Jabbar, former Federal Minister and Senator, as well as Samina Baig, UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador and President, Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation.
P&G has been promoting Gender Equality internally within the workplace as well as externally through its community impact, supplier diversity and brand initiatives. It is leveraging the strengths of its business operations as well as its scale and advertising voice to address gender bias, enable education for girls and promote women's economic empowerment. Moreover, it is focused on creating a supportive environment and inclusive culture for men and women where everyone can contribute to their full potential whilst striving to achieve 50-50 representation in all areas of the Company.
Sharing his thoughts, Sami Ahmed, Vice President, P&G Pakistan, said, "We are pleased to continue our work to create an inclusive, gender-equal environment within P&G, while advocating for gender equality externally as well, so that everyone can contribute to their full potential." He further added, "While we have been working hard to make a meaningful impact for our communities, we are also steadfast in our approach to keep this cause alive through dialogue. We hope that our words and actions combined will help make a difference. This is yet another step forward towards the fulfillment of our aspiration to help build a gender-equal world - with equal representation and an equal voice for women and men, in our workplace, in our communities and in our country."
The panelists shared their perspectives on different aspects of gender equality including the need to promote women's economic empowerment with a view to benefit the society and the role that media and advertising can play to help raise awareness and break gender-biased stereotypes. They also expressed their views regarding the myths that are holding us back from equal representation in leadership and the workplace, highlighted the importance of men as advocates for the cause of Gender Equality and stressed a call to action, as every person, every day, can be an agent of change —individually and collectively.
Fareeha Ummar, Portfolio Manager, Women's Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihood, UN Women Pakistan, also expressed her views, "UN Women Pakistan is committed to engaging with the private sector to drive change that advances women's equality and economic empowerment. We believe that the time is now to back up our words via action. We hope that the corporate sector will play its role for a socially accountable and gender responsive private sector who thinks, acts and impacts gender equality in their companies, in the market-place and in the community."
Through its social cause programs, P&G has partnered with UN Women and Health Oriented Preventive Education (HOPE) for women's skill-development and girls' education. In collaboration with HOPE, 10,000 women and girls (over 3-year period) are to receive vocational training and quality secondary education in semi-urban/rural areas such as Badin, Sujawal, Thatta, Gadap, Ghagger, and Muzaffargarh. Five centers have been established so far, reaching over 6000 women and girls. In partnership with UN Women Pakistan, so far 52 women have received skill development and financial literacy trainings, enabling them to setup small-scale business ventures in Sialkot.
Javed Jabbar, former Federal Minister and Senator, expressed his support to the cause. He said, "Women's struggle for equality and justice in virtually every sphere began thousands of years ago. While progress has been achieved in some areas and we have many inspirational examples of women leaders across the world and in Pakistan, there is still a great effort to be made to reduce the gender gap." He added, "Conversation is vital because it can help change mindsets. It is heartening to see that P&G, along with UN Women and other partners, is creating important opportunities for women in Pakistan and is working for a meaningful impact by raising awareness through dialogue. One hopes that Pakistan will progress in this respect because we are still behind compared to several other nations. Everyone should join hands for this important cause."
Pakistan is currently ranked 151 (out of 153) on the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index and the overall literacy rate amongst girls in the country is 46% compared to 71% amongst men. Only one-quarter of women participate in the labor force whereas, only 5% of senior and leadership roles are held by women. P&G's commitment to Gender Equality is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 5 — to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Gender diversity is an important aspect of P&G's overall diversity and inclusion mission. The Company aims to attract, recruit and retain the top talent in Pakistan with a special focus on women via a range of strong diversity programs. As a result, today women constitute around 35 percent of employees at the P&G Karachi General Office and around 36 percent of the P&G Pakistan Leadership Team. Moreover, 67 percent of its new hires over the past 5 months at the P&G General office were women.
P&G joined the US-Pakistan Women's Council (USPWC) in its mission to promote the economic participation of women in the workforce in Pakistan. As the founding member of the USPWC's corporate initiative, P&G has played an active role in supporting the Council's efforts to promote supplier diversity in Pakistan and provided training sessions for over 100 women entrepreneurs in collaboration with USPWC and WECREATE.
In partnership with Health Oriented Preventive Education (HOPE) and READ Foundation, P&G has provided quality education to nearly 4000 girls from underprivileged communities in Pakistan. Furthermore, P&G brands have been committed to empowering women and young girls with confidence in Pakistan through campaigns such as the #AlwaysAzaad, #MyFutureStartsToday and Karo Yaqeen as well as Pantene #StrongIsBeautiful and Pampers #DadsCanChange. Moreover, the Always School Education Program has reached over 10 million Pakistani girls with essential health and hygiene education to date.
The event, moderated by Sidra Iqbal, was attended by foreign mission representatives, corporate and business leaders, government representatives, media professionals, civil society leaders, intelligentsia, and P&G employees.
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