Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) members, comprising of top 200 foreign investors, recognize the growing importance of women towards creating an enabling environment necessary to accelerate the economic growth in the country, President OICCI, Ghias Khan, remarked while commending the efforts of foreign investors at the OICCI Women Empowerment Awards 2021 organized today. OICCI has initiated various research and has been holding annual competition among the members by recognizing those who have focused on women empowerment. “Increasing Women’s inclusion in the Pakistan Economy” a policy paper by OICCI has been shared with the Ministry of Human Rights last year.
Ghias Khan added, “OICCI had initiated the OICCI Women Empowerment initiative in 2017 and has been regularly advocating for women empowerment among its membership. The fourth (2021) edition of the awards this year was organized to recognize the progress made by OICCI members in raising the engagement of women within their respective organization and give awards to the outstanding performers.
The awards were judged by an independent jury who vetted the performance of the companies from different aspects and awarded the best performers overall and in seven separate categories. Three companies emerged victorious across all the categories and won top three positions: Procter & Gamble Pakistan and Telenor Pakistan were declared the first and second runner-up respectively while Unilever Pakistan won the top position and declared winner of “OICCI Women Empowerment Award 2021.”
Special Recognition Awards were given in seven categories. Nestlé Pakistan won in the ‘Leadership & Strategy’ category; Mobilink Microfinance Bank in ‘Gender Balance Workforce’; Standard Chartered Bank in ‘Work Life Integration’; Bank Alfalah in ‘Women Leaders Development’; Pakistan Mobile Communications (Jazz) in “Driving Change Beyond Workspace”; TRG (ibex. Pakistan) in “Notable Growth in Women Empowerment”; and L’Oreal Pakistan bagged the ‘Top Performer amongst companies of 300 employees’ Award.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of CEOs and corporate professionals from different OICCI member companies, as well as diplomats and other distinguished guests. The keynote speakers included the Political Counsellor at British High Commission, Iona Thomas; European Union Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Androulla Kaminara; and Executive Vice President Unilever, Annemarieke de Haan. The speakers termed OICCI the trendsetter for women empowerment in Pakistan and advised that the corporate sector across Pakistan should replicate the ‘OICCI Women’ initiative to foster economic growth of the country.
Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Sima Kamil, during a panel discussion, lauded the efforts of the OICCI and observed that OICCI Women is a great platform to create a movement for women empowerment in the country and appreciated the OICCI initiative to publicly acknowledge the efforts of member companies to give women equal employment opportunity and congenial working environment for the economy to grow.
The speakers also emphasized that empowerment of women and gender equality are essential tools to achieve sustainable development in a global world. Therefore, it is important to bring women into the mainstream in all sectors, to build strong economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities alike.
At the conclusion, Secretary OICCI, M. Abdul Aleem, hoped to see OICCI Women initiative become an inspiration for all organizations across the country and joining hands for a greater cause.