KARACHI: Working women in Pakistan have come a long way, but their growth in the corporate sector has been limited to a few departments. It is time companies make efforts to encourage and then help women stay in core business operations like production and sales. This was said by PepsiCo Planning Manager Saairah Farooq on Wednesday.
She said this while speaking at Women in Business & Leadership Conference (WIBCON) 2016, which was organised by Pakistan Society for Training and Development (PSTD) at Movenpick Hotel.
“Our company gave opportunities to women in male dominated departments like sales and production. They accepted the challenge but left soon. So we changed our policy and started appointing a team of two women with support staff. The strategy worked and we not only succeeded in retaining them but also noticed a significant jump in our business growth,” she added while speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Minding the gap: re-framing attitudes about gender in workplaces’.
Supporting Farooq’s point, Unilever Pakistan Human Resources (HR) Director Shafaq Omar asked the packed hall with working women to raise their hands if they were from engineering departments or from supply chain. Very few raised their hands.
“In Pakistan, we have women in HR, marketing and finance, but very few of them are in engineering and other such fields. Tough working schedules are indeed the biggest challenge but they need to understand that taking a gap is not wrong. Just take a gap and then come back,” she added.
P&G Pakistan Human Resources Senior Manager Sumika Farooqui said, “I am pleased to see that the percentage of female staff in our company has jumped from 20% to 35% over the years.
“The bigger challenge is to retain the female staff, so our company has provided facilities like day-care centres and given them a choice to re-join the organisation after a gap of two years. One thing that has worked for us is our policy in which we invite families to the company to show them how the company looks after its female employees,” Farooqui added.
Engro Corp Corporate Communications and HR Manager Naila Kassim said, “It is good to see more women are now re-joining their workplaces after marriages. The acceptance of women who come to work with their babies is growing and it is very satisfying for me.
“There is no difference between men and women. Anybody can work hard and take what he or she deserves. It is just a matter of hard work,” Kassim added.