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ACCA Pakistan discussion paper underlines need for gender diversity at board level

ACCA Pakistan has issued a new discussion paper calling for a greater understanding of the potential business case for gender diversity on the boards of publicly listed companies.

Despite a rise in the number of women entering Pakistan's paid workforce during the past decade, the Gender Diversity on Boards in Pakistan paper (available from the Related documents box at the bottom of this page) - commissioned by the IFC - features a series of recommendations on what is a priority agenda item for policymakers and business leaders around the world.

These include:

  • the need to document and advocate the value of mixed-group decision making for reputation issues, calculated risk-taking and enhanced financial performance
  • that business leaders who already champion gender diversity on boards assume an ambassadorial role for gender diversity
  • Pakistan's largest companies should lead by example, which in turn may compel smaller businesses to evaluate the benefits of having qualified and experienced women on their boards
  • that the ascent of women to board positions may be facilitated by organisational support and an environment conducive to career progression.

'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,' said Dr Afra Sajjad, ACCA Pakistan's head of education and policy development. 'The objective is to initiate a discussion on the future of gender diversity on boards in Pakistan, by presenting an overview of the current state of gender diversity.'

Arif Masud Mirza, head of ACCA Pakistan, added: 'ACCA was the first accountancy body to admit women to its membership in 1909. By presenting a business case for gender diversity based on the premises of fair access and routes to progression, this paper fully endorses ACCA's core values of opportunity, innovation, integrity and diversity.'