Workplaces around the world possess characteristics of inequality as a spillover of past practices, defined by actions and behaviors that result in class and gender polarity. Companies of all sizes act as microcosms of the societies that they are a part of, mirroring their structures and beliefs.
While companies around the world are improving and recognizing the importance of women’s participation in leadership roles, there is still an abundance of debate around their perceived and actual authority in decision making, representation, and impact.
The Champions of Change Coalition is a global collaborative strategy for achieving gender equality, especially amongst leadership, building respectful, inclusive, and well-represented workplaces.
As part of the same, Male Champions of Change (MCC) reaches out to men in powerful and influential positions, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with women leaders of their respective countries, encouraging them to take the seat at public and professional forums, as they should.
Together, they honor the commitment to bring about a behavioral shift towards gender inequality in their communities. Women around the world, but especially in culturally conservative environments like Pakistan, are still pushing through a steep upwards climb for increased representation and improved access to authority across the board.
Recent reports and studies by several research organizations indicate that for every 10 male directors there is only one female counterpart in Pakistan.
Telenor Pakistan is one such company in the country, whose CEO, Irfan Wahab Khan is a proud Male Champion of Change to encourage other workplaces to have female representation in their workforce and follow the company’s best practices in diversity and inclusion.
Very recently, Irfan has also taken the panel pledge to lead by example and encourage equal opportunities on professional public speaking platforms for females. The pledge particularly focuses on the participation of women across multiple professional and public forums for well-represented and diverse input on topics of discussion.
“Telenor Pakistan thrives on its diverse culture; whether it’s diversity of thought, culture, gender, or physical ability, and our work in the area speaks volumes”, said CEO Telenor Pakistan, Irfan Wahab.
Discussing some of the company’s initiatives that embody the spirit of inclusivity, he further added, “Besides standing up for women’s rights within the company itself, we are also currently working on improving existing and exploring new platforms for women empowerment and representation, like ‘Naya Aghaaz’.”
“I feel immense honor in being one of the leaders of change and have taken this task personally, making it a part of the company’s business strategy to create an environment that enables women to thrive, across the many roles they take up.”
He continues to honour the pledge with the motto of #WeSpeakSoSheSpeaks, encouraging women and men to work towards creating a more equal world, the first step towards which is commitment to the cause.
While there has been significant progress in women’s right to equal treatment at all levels of work, there is still a vast ground to cover. More women feel empowered to demand meaningful participation through roles of leadership, ranging from CEOs of companies to captains in sports teams who feel encouraged and empowered to reach even higher.
However, there are still barriers to worldwide commitment to gender equality and balance in line with the Social Development Goal 5; women’s paths are still blocked by cultural factors that hinder equal participation on any level.
The Male Champions of Change coalition has proven to be the most tangible and promising development in the gender equality agenda in Pakistan – a country with 98% male leadership where patriarchy is a deep-rooted cultural belief.
Telenor Pakistan’s Irfan Wahab Khan, along with 250+ other men around the world in leadership roles have taken the panel pledge to question that age-old narrative, and step up for gender equality, and to bring about impactful change for generations to come.