‘Women can help improve financial performance’

Apr 25, 2018

LAHORE: Women add diversity of thought and problem-solving techniques to the management and culture of any organisation, said Ms Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson of Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), at a networking event held under PCSW’s Leadership Initiative here on Tuesday.

The event was attended by government officials and women leaders who have been nominated by PCSW for placement on public sector boards and committees. Not only did the event provide these dynamic, competent and well-accomplished women leaders with an opportunity to develop linkages with like-minded government officials, but also provided a platform to introduce themselves to representatives of various government entities.

The core aim of the initiative is to facilitate implementation of Punjab Women Empowerment Package 2012, and the Punjab Fair Representation of Women Act 2014, both of which mandate at least 33pc representation of women on all boards of public sector entities in Punjab. For this purpose, PCSW has engaged dynamic women from the private sector and is enabling their placement on boards of public entities. The event included a panel discussion on ‘Effectively Influencing Decision-Making in the public sector’, through which, barriers to inclusion of women in decision-making positions and resistance/acceptance of women as decision-makers in the public sector, were discussed. Panellists included Asad Rehman Gillani, Secretary, Energy Department; Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson PCSW; Fiza Farhan, Chairperson of Chief Minister’s Taskforce for Women’s Empowerment, and Humaira Shazia.

Panellists shed light on their experiences serving as directors on various public sector boards and challenges in implementing quotas for women’s inclusion. In an effort to represent all stakeholders, views from the private sector were much appreciated, in highlighting “what women bring to the table” and corporate structures that support women’s inclusion. Based on the panellists’ hands-on knowledge and the ensuing discussion, valuable and useful recommendations were put forth to enhance the role of women in public-sector.

Ms Fiza Farhan stressed on the fact that gender diversity is a business imperative because women bring a new perspective to boards, and consequently help improve financial performance and corporate governance. Ms Humaira Shazia affirmed that having women on boards aids productivity and leads to better problem-solving strategies for companies. She encouraged public sector companies, statutory bodies, autonomous institutions and other public entities to include a greater number of women on their boards.

Asad Rehman Gillani affirmed that having women on decision-making positions encourages other women to apply for positions since their rights and needs are automatically better catered for by women in higher positions. Ms Khan acknowledged that recruitment to decision making positions in boards and committees of Public Entities is challenging due to difficulties in identifying women who are well versed in matters of governance.