I Am A Feminist

I have a confession to make: I am a feminist. I realized this because I strongly believe in creating equal opportunities for women in all aspects of life, especially in areas of education and employment which, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the definition of feminism.

I don’t know when I became a feminist or what exactly turned me into one. Maybe it is because I have lived in matriarchal societies such as Vietnam where it was rare to find a man who worked, as almost all the work was being done by women. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can’t believe organizations waste the opportunity that 50% of the country could bring to their team. Maybe it is because in my experience, women have an edge as they feel they simply have to try harder. Or maybe it is to do with my belief that a work environment in which both women and men work is just more fun and creative. Whatever it is, I prefer to work in an environment where both women and men coexist without any prejudices and preconceptions. Such environments drive both sexes to give it their best and to recognize and give opportunities to the person that best delivers and lives the company values, as opposed to encouraging gender discrimination.

I believe we have crossed many bridges with regards to education in Pakistan. 45%of all students enrolled in higher educational institutions are now women. The bridge that we haven’t seen yet, is in the area of employment. Women have to work harder, prove more and still get fewer opportunities. I know that many of you will disagree with this statement and I am sure you can point to more than one example that proves that I am wrong, which is great! However, I, and the women that I speak with, can come up with numerous examples to support the fact that there are many obstacles that prevent women from obtaining equal employment opportunities. Yes, some women are to blame for not influencing their social environment enough and yes women do postpone their career to focus on bringing up their kids. However the simple fact is that for any company to maximize its potential you can’t ignore 50% of the population.

If you still don’t believe me, believe this: A McKinsey study, called ‘Women Matter’ (2007) demonstrated that companies with a higher proportion of women in their top management have a 10% higher return equity and have 48% more profit. (See graph.)

For more information, visit McKinsey&Company and read more about how "Women Matter"

I would like to salute all the women that have been trailblazers. Those that have entered the corporate world, have made it to senior positions against the odds and have battled it out to show that women can not only do a fantastic job but have the results to prove it. To honor all these trailblazers of Pakistan; Engage Consulting is launching a study to determine what makes female corporate leaders successful. We are looking to identify best company practices, to promote gender diversity and highlight how companies can be successful in attracting, developing and retaining female talent to accelerate them to future corporate leaders.

If you are interested in this study and would like to participate or nominate a person or company to participate in our Corporate Women Leaders of Pakistan Study, then please contact Sanober Ahmad – Keijzer at sanober@engageconsulting.biz and become a part of the movement to support women in the corporate world.

As Sharmeen Obaid – Chinoy, a role model that has made a tremendous impact on Pakistani women said during her 2012 Oscar acceptance speech, “To all the women in Pakistan who are working for change, don’t give up on your dreams”

– Paul Keijzer


4 thoughts on “I Am A Feminist

  1. Thank you for remembering me. I like the idea of study and its overall concept. I would like to contribute my part in it. Therefore I am going to contact Ms. Sanober Ahmad. Keep it up. Good Luck. A lot of blessings.


    Huma Mahzer

  2. Hey Paul. Happy women’s day to you too! Great reading the Feminist bit. It’s great to have men like you who think like this. If you could work on the male segment of our population it will be a great contribution to go down in history.

  3. Hi Paul,

    I love the article!
    I find the research topic most interesting…I for one after my undergrad wanted to join the corporate sector but the dearth of women in senior positions made me reconsider and pushed me towards academia.
    I think female role models will be an important signal to women that working in the corporate sector and family life can be conducive. (Not all female CEO’s have failed marriages, messed up children or stay at home husbands). Given that women are entering the education sector with more force than ever before and are outperforming men, it is extremely important to make sure that they join the work force.
    I am looking forward to the results of the report. Please share them with me!


  4. I almost never comment, however i did some searching and wound up here I Am A Feminist | Engage Asia.
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if you tend
    not to mind. Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of these remarks come across like coming from brain dead individuals?
    😛 And, if you are posting on additional places,
    I’d like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of all your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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