Karachi, Mar 07: International Women’s Day 2021 is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contribution and accomplishments of today’s growing female workforce and the key role that women play in our lives. At K-Electric, it is yet another opportunity for the power utility to reinforce its mission of driving a narrative of gender empowerment by employing more women in technical roles, focusing on developing a gender balanced workplace and increasing female representation. This is in line with its commitment to support greater inclusion across hierarchies and functions.
Gender equity is a cornerstone at the organization and part of its strategy. This includes enabling women to move into senior management positions, as well as taking on roles traditionally considered to be a man’s job. For example, K-Electric introduced women meter readers back in 2019, and has managed to successfully break that stereotype.
K-Electric has also developed several initiatives that promote training and professional development for not just the male workforce but also women as part of its commitment to meeting the UN’s 5th Sustainability Development Goal (SDG 5) that aims to achieve gender equality and women empowerment by the year 2030. KE recently launched the “Roshni Baji” program through which forty women have been on-boarded and trained as safety ambassadors. These women will engage with over 100,000 households in their own communities to raise awareness about general safety, electrical safety, rain safety, power theft hazards and energy conservation. They will also eventually be trained as certified electricians, creating a new talent pool for the industry at large.
KE’s diverse work force and culture is one of its key strength and recognizing the potential of women in multiple areas of business, the Company is engaged in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning as well. In line with this vision, KE has inducted its first five Women Grid Operating Officers (GOOs), to take on challenging roles in the Transmission business.
Speaking on KE’s drive to engage more women in the power sector, Sadia Dada, K-Electric’s CMCO said; “A study conducted by WePower and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistant Program found that women only made up 4% of the overall workforce in energy utilities in Pakistan. I am proud to say that KE is playing its role by hiring more and more women for technical, management and on-field roles. Currently there are over 400 women in technical and non-technical capacities across the organization, including for the first time, two female members of KE’s Leadership.”
To date, Pakistan’s Energy Sector remains one of the least gender diverse sectors and women face structural and cultural challenges in professional growth and success. Pakistan ranks very low at 151/153 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap Index 2020, with steep challenges faced by women in the country with regards to social indicators like health, education & financial inclusion. With an almost gender equal population, 80% of the female population still struggles to play its due role in national progress.
The presence of two women in leadership roles at K-Electric, is not only a diversity & inclusion milestone for the organization but also resonates with the ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world International Women’s Day (IWD)’ agenda for 2021 which is about collective individualism to create a more gender equal world and workforce.
Along with increasing female representation to support greater inclusion across hierarchies and functions, KE also remains committed to growing the participation of female athletes in various sporting activities. The ‘First Women’s Football League’, organized and sponsored by KE in 2018, with over 160 players representing all areas of Karachi is a prime example. Earlier in 2016 KE had sponsored the “Girls Boxing Championship”, where 20 female boxers from Lyari demonstrated their talent.