Role of CSR for women’s empowerment highlighted

September 22, 2021

Islamabad: UN Women hosted a convention on CSR4Women - The Untapped Potential in Islamabad on Tuesday.The event was supported by the Government of Norway and chaired by Sima Kamil, the deputy...

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Islamabad: UN Women hosted a convention on CSR4Women - The Untapped Potential in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The event was supported by the Government of Norway and chaired by Sima Kamil, the deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. The convention brought together business leaders, CEOs of private companies, heads of chambers of commerce, development partners and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) experts to deliberate on the potential role of the CSR towards fostering inclusive economic opportunities for women.

“The nexus of corporate social responsibility and women’s economic empowerment presents four wins - for the private sector, the state, women and for us as UN Women Pakistan. Through our collaborative efforts, we will achieve the vision of making Pakistan the 10th largest economy by 2047,” said Sharmeela Rassool, country representative of UN Women in her opening address.

The convention provided an opportunity to recognise the role of women Home-Based Workers (HBWs), while identifying possibilities for their economic advancement in the CSR space. Evidence shows that HBWs contribute 1.5 per cent of Pakistan’s GDP, the available data does not include those who are self-employed or contributing family workers. According to the Labour Force Survey for 2017-2018, out of 5.26 million HBWs in Pakistan, 81% are women. HBWs are playing an increasingly important role in the economic growth of the country. However, their contribution is undervalued with limited recognition and legal protection.

Sima Kamil, deputy governor, SBP, sharing a perspective in the keynote address said, “The financial sector also needs to realize its role as a key player in advancing regulatory policy and strategies towards promoting women’s access to finance and digital financial inclusion.” She highlighted the need for introducing digital channels for lending by the financial institutions and capacity building of women for effectively accessing these tools.

UN Women Pakistan has worked with the private sector companies in Pakistan since 2015 through the application of Women’s Economic Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPs are a set of gender responsive principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the workplaces and marketplaces. UN Women has mobilised a fast-growing community of WEP signatories in Pakistan, who are doing valuable and impactful work in this regard.

Fareeha Ummar, portfolio manager, UN Women, in her call for action, underscored that private business activity, investment and innovation through social responsibility are major drivers of inclusive economic growth and job creation. She called on the private sector to apply creativity and innovation through a partnership approach ‘towards ensuring income equality, gender equality, equity in access to health, education and social security.’

The expert panel discussion featured best practices and experiences from the CSR initiatives to identify opportunities for channeling CSR funds towards an economically secured future for women in Pakistan.

The convention concluded with some very pertinent commitments and agreed action points from the participants for nurturing a new generation of business and public leaders that will take CSR and sustainability to the next level.



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