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ACCA Releases Discussion Paper on Gender Diversity on Boards in Pakistan

KARACHI (August 10, 2010) – ACCA Pakistan recently organised a discussion forum on ‘Gender Diversity on Boards in Pakistan’ in conjunction with the launch of a discussion paper having the same title. The forum was paneled by key personnel from Pakistani public practice, corporate and public sectors.

These panelists included Mr Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan, Mr Haroon Waheed, Director HR, Unilever Pakistan Limited, Ms Moneeza Butt, Partner, KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co. Chartered Accountants, Mr Kanwar Anwar Saeed, General Manager Human Resources, Engro Fertilizers Ltd.

The discussion was moderated by Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education and Policy Development, ACCA Pakistan.

“As policy makers and business leaders are internationally considering a trend for more board diversity (including gender diversity), the examination of the business case for board gender diversity in the context of Pakistan merits consideration” explained Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education and Policy Development of ACCA Pakistan.

Mr Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan commented, “Women constitute 43% of ACCA’s global membership and ACCA is the first accountancy body to admit women to its membership, in 1909. The discussion paper by presenting a business case for gender diversity based on the premises of fair access and routes to progression, endorses ACCA’s core values of opportunity and diversity”.

Mr Haroon Waheed, Director HR, Unilever Pakistan Limited said that organisations may like to build support programmes and provide access to role models (men and women), networks and mentors (men and women) to help women in middle and senior-level management to overcome perceived obstacles and to succeed in reaching board positions.

While giving her opinion, Ms Moneeza Butt, Partner, KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co. Chartered Accountants said even though more women have entered Pakistan’s paid workforce in the last decade, from the small number of professional, qualified and experienced women directors, it appears that there is a need for greater understanding of the potential businesses case for gender diversity on boards of publicly listed companies.

Mr Kanwar Anwar Saeed, General Manager Human Resources, Engro Fertilizers Ltd said that business leaders who are already championing gender diversity on boards within their organisations may be encouraged to assume an ambassadorial role, promoting the benefits of gender diversity on boards on public forums.

Ms Mahwesh Bilal Khan, Operations Analyst Corporate Governance Project, IFC said in her concluding remarks that this joint effort to give an overview of the current state of gender diversity on boards in Pakistan aims to initiate a discussion on the future of gender diversity on boards.

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