Minimal inclusion of women in the corporate sector has been talked about very often, but its accurate picture has been highlighted only recently by a research report. Only 21 companies out of 559 listed companies on Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) have a woman director as a board member. Furthermore, only 32 independent women directors are part of company boards.
A market opening bell-ringing ceremony was held at PSX in which most of the speakers expressed that there is severe gender inequality at the top corporate layer that needs to be eradicated by including more women at prominent positions.
Looking at the research report numbers, currently there are 4000 directors in 559 listed companies, with women making a sparse appearance at the director’s level.
One of the participants said:
“We need to increase that strength to 1,000 women directors”
Other stated that they are hoping that companies’ secure at least one seat for a women director in the near future.
The event was organized in order to support the agenda of Women on Board (WoB)-Pakistan. This agenda is working on reducing gender inequality in board of directors of all listed companies. The Chairperson of WoB, Rahat Kaunain Hassan expressed gratitude over the evolving trend and perception about women inclusion in the work force.
Another speaker said that organizational leaders have to show commitment to this goal by opening their doors for women executives to climb up the corporate steps.
Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG) implemented a directors’ training program under which 162 women executives have been trained and are now qualified for top positions.
Sima Kamil: A motivation for other women in the corporate sector
Looking at the broader picture, this ceremony was organized soon after the appointment of Sima Kamil. Being the first woman President and CEO of a major Pakistani bank United Bank Limited, she has paved the way and inspired many women to follow her footsteps in reaching the top. While expressing her views on this occasion, Sima said that she will put her efforts in delivering returns to all the stakeholders of UBL. Adding further, she said that workplaces should be safe and secure for women executives.
Ms Kamil validated her views by referring to a research report, according to which returns of corporate entities and financial institutions with women directors are better versus those with all men on board.
Furthermore, she pledged her support to the cause by saying that women are generally ‘more tough and focused’. They also have the inherent capability to deliver better results efficiently.
W-corporate Enlistment Awards
W-Corporate Enlistment Awards were organized and presented to organizations that have included women in directorial positions. These awards were based on the results of annual research report titled “Women in Boardrooms”.
The report reiterated that less than 4 percent of the 559 listed companies have women directors while the ratio is only 1 percent for independent/unrelated professional women directors.
The following thirteen companies have received this award:
- Dawood Capital Management
- First Dawood Mutual Fund
- Hum TV Network
- ICI Pakistan
- National Foods
- Pakistan Cables
- Samba Bank
- Southern Electric Power
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Sui Southern Gas Company
- Unilever Foods
- United Insurance
In addition, the other eight (out of 21 eligible companies) which have already received the awards are as follows:
- Abbott Laboratories
- Archroma Pakistan
- Bestway Cement
- Colgate Palmolive
- IGI Insurance
- JS Bank
- KSB Pumps
- Pakistan Tobacco