In September 2020, the Aga Khan University (AKU) published a report that included some bold recommendations for how universities, development organisations, charities and businesses can make their workplaces gender equitable and enable more women to rise to positions of leadership.
The report’s recommendations came out of discussions that took place during the AKU-hosted conference on Gender Equity and Women in Leadership, held in December 2019. This conference, attended by more than 350 people and over 35 organisations, brought together change-makers in the fields of business, development, health, law and publishing to discuss the global challenges to achieving gender equity in the workplace, with a particular focus on Pakistan.
Twenty-six speakers, including Dr Nancy Spector, Executive Director of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) programme for women; Dr Saad B. Omer, an alumnus of AKU’s Medical College and Director at the Yale Institute for Global Health, USA; Ms Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, Pakistan’s first specialised microfinance institution for women micro-entrepreneurs; and Ms. Shazia Syed, formerly Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of Unilever Pakistan Limited and currently executive Vice President of Unilever's global tea business, joined in person or via video-link.
Women’s empowerment and gender equality are important principles at AKU and since its founding in 1983, it has been promoting the welfare and advancement of women.