There was a time in Pakistan when people would not send their daughters to schools and colleges, which affected the number of working women in the country. But situation is changing and now presence of women can be felt in the corporate sector as well. Not only this, women have acquired top executive positions in different sectors through their sheer hard work and talent.
Parliament of Pakistan has passed the Companies Act 2017 on May 24, which requires companies to have women directors on their boards. According to the revised Code of Corporate Governance, it has become mandatory for listed companies to have one woman director within three years. The idea was to create more opportunities for women at top positions in companies.
It is expected that women proportion in boards of listed companies will increase from 6.4% to 14.3%, a much needed change that should have happened earlier. The 6.4% representation of women on boards of listed companies was way below the 15.8% women labor force in the country. Women directors in S&P 500 and FTSE 100 companies also range from 20 to 25%.
Not only the listed companies will have to oblige the new rules but public interest companies with paid-up capital, shareholders, and employees also need to follow the rules. The new SECP law provides the much needed change for women who have not yet been able to represent their gender at top level. The move will increase gender diversity in boards of companies in Pakistan.
Although, it will be a challenge for SECP and the government to implement this law, but it will be something that will increase women representation in companies and will encourage young girls to pursue their careers.
Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance offered a Director Training Program for women in which 130 women were trained and more are likely to follow. During the fiscal year 2016-17 government created 25,000 jobs for women along with 70% jobs in the primary education department.
Encouraging women to join the workforce will ensure gender equality in the corporate sector and will provide a career path for women to stand on their own. Even Pakistan Army is now recruiting women officers while Pakistan Air Force already has women fighter pilots.