Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Karandaaz Pakistan won the prestigious CFA Society Pakistan’s award for “Recognizing Gender Diversity at Workplace 2018”. The award ceremony is CFA Society Pakistan’s flagship event for the year and celebrates industry leaders with outstanding performance under various categories that have provided value-enhancing services to the financial industry and investing public in Pakistan. Farwa Hasnain, Company Secretary and Head of Human Resources at Karandaaz Pakistan received the award from Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan at the 16th Annual Excellence Awards Ceremony of CFA Society Pakistan held in Karachi.
Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, while talking about Karandaaz’s commitment to gender-inclusive growth said, “Karandaaz promotes gender equality and women’s economic empowerment across all its activities as well as at the organizational level. We fully recognize that women’s economic empowerment and ensuring their fair share in the development process is the only way to reap sustainable social as well as economic dividends for any country. Karandaaz is committed to lead by example in terms of equal opportunities for all staff to thrive at all levels within the company.”
Farwa Hasnain, Company Secretary and Head of HR, Karandaaz Pakistan said, “At Karandaaz, we endeavor to create a culture that is truly inclusive and gives equal opportunity to both genders. Today, 50% of Karandaaz Board positions, 43% of senior management roles, and almost 38% of professional staff roles are held by women. 33% of our staff reports to a female manager. We have adopted inclusive policies to make work place easier for women.”
Recognizing that traditional financial institutions were reluctant to develop strategies for addressing gaps that hamper growth for women-led and managed enterprises, Karandaaz runs an annual Women Entrepreneurship Challenge providing business support services and growth capital to businesswomen from across the country. Karandaaz’s intervention has to date enabled growth for more than 50 women-led businesses across Pakistan. Another Karandaaz initiative, the recently launched Financial Inclusion of Women Challenge, offers financial service providers, FinTechs, research and advisory firms and other relevant market players support to pilot, test, or scale interventions that will help promote women as a viable market segment, address their specific needs and preferences, and reduce bottlenecks restraining their financial inclusion.
Karandaaz has also conducted various research studies on women’s use of digital financial services and the barriers they face. A study titled “Customer Segmentation Framework – Gender Report” has been published and contextualizes behavioral and psychological dimensions of the financial lives of women in Pakistan. Other researches that directly contribute to the financial industry recognizing the importance of women-specific interventions include research on “Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in Pakistan” and “Financial System Needs of Micro-Entrepreneur Women”. Karandaaz is also investing in models targeting digital financial services to the segment of economically low-income active women.
Karandaaz Pakistan supports small and medium entrepreneurs, increasing access to finance for unbanked populations by leveraging digital technologies, developing and disseminating evidence-based insights, and encourages innovation in the financial space through its challenge fund. Karandaaz is funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.