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ISLAMABAD: To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) held different events from 8 to 10 March 2021 to acknowledge the role of women in CCP and other fields of professions in Pakistan.

On 8 March, the CCP Chairperson Rahat Kaunain Hassan held a candid session with the female officers, who comprise one-third of the workforce in CCP. The session was also attended by CCP Members Shaista Bano and Bushra Naz Malik. In the session, the Chairperson launched an in–house documentary made by the CCP’s Advocacy Department on the role of women in CCP since its beginning. The documentary encapsulates the contributions of CCP’s women in all roles including leadership, functional and staff support. Three out of four times, CCP has been headed by a woman while three out of four of its current Members are also women. Moreover, the average gender representation ratio at CCP has been at least one-third of its team of officers.

On 9 March, the second session was held with the Chairperson, Members, and all male and female employees of CCP along with a guest speaker, Ms. Batool Asadi, the first female Assistant Commissioner from Balochistan, currently studying at Oxford, who joined the session via zoom. Asadi joined the Pakistan Administrative Service in 2012, where she had the honour of becoming the first female Assistant Commissioner in the history of Balochistan, encouraging many girls to join the civil service in Balochistan. She served in various positions including Deputy Secretary (Staff) to Chief Secretary Balochistan, and Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue (ADC-R) Quetta. In the session, she shared her experiences and her struggle to achieve goals.

The third day was marked by the presence and participation of three eminent women in leadership roles, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institution of Science and Technology (Szabist), Sadia Khan, Commission Securities, and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Maheen Rahman, CEO Infra Zamin Pakistan.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, the recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz, has extensive contributions both to civil society and the government in education, politics, healthcare, and women’s development. She remained the Member National Assembly twice and Minister for Education in 1988. She is. Ms. Sadia Khan was the youngest female Executive Director in SECP where she is currently serving as the first female Commissioner. She has pursued a versatile career path, traversing investment banking, development finance, financial regulations, family businesses, and entrepreneurship across three continents. She has also authored a book, ‘Corporate Governance landscape of Pakistan.’ Maheen Rahman Maheen Rahman was awarded a place in Forbes ’40 Under 40? Female Executives 2015 list as she was the youngest leader of the asset management company in Pakistan, and was the only female CEO among a total of 21 rival CEOs.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali spoke about the current change and role of women in politics and what struggle women have faced in reaching where women are today. She emphasized that “what matters is, the clarity as to what you want and the position you earn will follow you”. Sadia Khan shared that “perseverance, professionalism, and passion have contributed in leading her where she is today”. She also pointed out that “on the aspect of corporate governance there is a sea change in awareness, however, boards ought to be encouraged for having more and more female representation”. Maheen Rehman while sharing her experiences emphasized “the need for women to be in policymaking and leadership roles and emphasized for women to accept the challenge and not letting go any opportunity that comes their way for fear of failure”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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