Lahore: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) organized the CA Women’s Day, with the objective of highlighting women as an equally pivotal element in the hierarchy of success.
The role women play in developing strong organizations, its culture and business success, and commemorating those women who have served as personal and professional role models and symbols of excellence in their lives, and who have provided positive direction and have been a source of inspiration for many.
Giving a message that everything is equally attainable by women if the passion for achieving it exists. Prominent speakers from the industry as well as government dignitaries shared their views on Balance for Better – Pakistan’s Perspective, women entrepreneurship programs, women friendly workplaces, women on board – challenges and opportunities.
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Governor or Punjab, graced the event as the Chief Guest. In his address, he stated, “In today event, it is the clear indication of the importance of gender parity. It also pleases me to see a professional event in which the women outnumbered the men. There is a mindset that every task on earth is being accomplished by the men but I want to share own example that my success in UK and here is just because of my mother as she grown me up followed by my father. If I talk about my three sons and one daughter, they also succeeded in respective fields just because of their mother’s role. That’s why our sisters and daughters have become chartered accountants should not think that they have achieved this milestone on mercy of men but due to their own skills, he encouraged.
If there is a will, there is a way. I am happy to share that as governor I am chancellor of 62 universities in Punjab. Whenever I attend convocations, I feel proud to know our girls are performing better than boys. On various ceremonies, top gold medals are won by girls. I can say that 80 percent gold and silver medals are awarded to girls. Women in different professions in public sector as well are serving with zeal and commitment. I am confident that future of this country will be in the hands of women of Pakistan in next 10 years. And this will be a role model for rest of the world, Governor Punjab told.
There is ample evidence in literature that diversity at workplace bring high dividends towards the achievements of organization goals. Women participation in all work of life have also been very dear to the founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The role of his sister Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah in Pakistan movement testifies the commitment of the Quaid-e-Azam which he attached the role of women in development of the country as well as the society, Chaudhry Muhammd Sarwar reminded.
Unfortunately, women are still heavily under represented in the business sector of Pakistan and this needs to be addressed. The ultimate objective of the gender parity is to support all the other sustainable development goals and achieve peace, prosperity and the wellbeing not only of the people of Pakistan but also the region and the world.
There is no other region which can produce such a large number of talented professionals in this future knowledge economy. However according to the world bank report on the observance of standards codes of the total 7135 chartered accountants in Pakistan, only 500 are women. The percentage of female students enrolled in accountancy profession is also quite low and has ranged from 18 to 22 over the last few years. They have highlighted the lag of enabling birth environment such as day are and pick and drop facilities at workplaces as may be a major factors to this low percentage, he concluded.
Justice retd. Nasira Iqbal, delivered her keynote address on role of mothers as a leader in bringing up children to make them a productive member of society. She stressed upon the importance of more women to take leadership roles in the economic development of Pakistan.
Hina Usmani, Chairperson CA Women’s Committee and Council Member ICAP, in her address welcomed the impressive audience. She stressed chartered accountancy is globally recognized qualification and requires increased women participation as we are far behind as compared to other regional countries in terms of women in accounting.
She emphasized on more women participation in the workforce as majority educated women in urban areas are not working. She identified provision of flexible working and day care centers as solution to address this issue and appreciated initiatives taken by Punjab Government in this regard and requested adoption at country level.
Jafar Husain, President ICAP, welcomed the guests and appreciated the initiative of CA Women’s Committee. He shared that women make up an integral part of the overall workforce, whichhelps in taking businesses to great heights. He felt that this was a great initiative which will not only lay the foundation for such events in the future, but also serve as a platform where women come together to get inspired and contribute to make a positive change in the society.
A Panel discussion was held on Work Life Balance for Women, in which RafiaShaheen – Head of Risk and Compliance, NRSP, Mariyam Balouch – Company Secretary, GEPCO, Zunair Zafar – CFO, LUMS, and Hira Mehmood – Commercial Controller, PEPSICO participated. Maria Zafar moderated the session.
The topic of the second panel discussion was Women on Board – Challenges and opportunities. This session was moderated by Sadia Shakoor. The participants of this discussion included, Huma Pasha – Senior Partner, Usmani & Co., Haroon Waheed – Managing Partner, SYNGRO Consulting, Fauzia Viqar – Chairperson, Punjab Commission on Status of Women, and Samra Maqbool – Head of Strategy and New Business, Nestle.
The event ended with the distribution of shields to the participants along with a sitcom performance.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) is the premier regulatory body of Accountancy Profession in Pakistan and continues to contribute to the development of CA profession in the country since its inception. ICAP and its Council is strongly committed to diversity and gender parity and has taken many initiatives; the most prominent of them being the formation of the CA Women’s Committee.