Two weeks ago, Engage Women (an initiative of Engage Consulting) launched the Women@Work Study. We invited 20 companies to participate, in hopes to get better understandings and insights into what enables the participation of working women in Pakistan. To date; Pepsi, Engro, GSK, Nestle, Shell, Phillip Morris, Mobilink, Ufone, PTC, Novartis, ICI, Reckitt Benckiser and Telenor have all confirmed their participation. That’s a pretty good result! 6 companies still have to come back to us and only one company has declined…
Strangely, Unilever was the one that decided not to participate. I am surprised as I was always under the impression that gender diversity is really important to them. They were role models and pioneers, with Musharaf Hai being the first female CEO and Chairman of a multinational company in Pakistan. Even now, they have two high potential female leaders in their management team.
I know from their HR Director, Ali Zia, that they have implemented a number of work-life balance initiatives in order to support female participation and career progression within the company. Not only do they promote gender diversity in the boardroom, but are also constantly working to find a gender balance internally. They provide security-guard staffed housing for female engineers that work near their remote facilities, promote flexible working hours to benefit all managers and even have a day care center to help working mothers.
So, I am not sure what their reason is, but maybe with your help I can pull them over the line! If you are interested in understanding Unilever’s position and best practices on enhancing gender diversity in Pakistan then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign my petition. I will collect all the responses and present them to Ehsan Malik, Unilever’s highly successful Chairman and CEO. I will try my best to convince him of Unilever’s social responsibility in this matter and to share their experience and heritage in driving the participation of women in leadership positions.
– Paul Keijzer