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IFC and the Pakistan Business Council Launch First Gender Balance Awards for Employers

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +202 2461 4230

Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec 17—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) are hosting their first awards conference today recognizing companies that have worked to reduce gaps between men and women in the workforce and will also be releasing case studies highlighting gender diversity best practices in five Pakistani companies.  

The special half-day event concludes a year-long IFC-PBC partnership to boost employment opportunities for women in Pakistan and drive development. That included webinars, an International Women’s Day conference in March, a Women on Boards training session, and an awareness campaign. Since the conference, 13 companies have pledged to create more jobs for women in their workforce.

The IFC/PBC Employer of Choice for Gender Balance Awards will award three companies Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at the event.

Fuad Hashimi, executive director for PBC’s Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB), said: “Our survey on gender diversity in Pakistan’s businesses last year illustrated just how far off many organizations were in this regard. CERB’s recommendations included measuring the pay gap, developing leadership pipeline, equity in promotions, and working on better retention, especially post-marriage. Since then, and thanks to this very successful partnership between IFC and the PBC, we’ve come a long way in promoting awareness of this important topic and taking steps to address the issue.”

The joint case studies focus on five Pakistani companies leading the way in boosting workforce gender diversity—Artistic Milliners, National Foods, HBL, Packages, and Interloop—in five areas: women in leadership, combating sexual harassment, women in non-traditional roles, introducing family-friendly policies, and implementing equal opportunity recruitment practices. Representatives from the companies will join a panel at the event to discuss the case studies.

“We are delighted with the success of this partnership and the number of people we’ve been able to reach in the business community,” said Shabana Khawar, Principal Country Officer in Pakistan. “But we also know there’s still a long way to go. IFC remains committed to working with individual firms to help them develop and implement gender-smart strategies to attract and retain women in their workforce.”

This was IFC’s first engagement in Pakistan focused exclusively on increasing female employment. Although women represent 49 percent of the country’s adult population, only 7 percent of Pakistan's workforce are women, the third lowest rate in the world.

About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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