In 2016, CIRCLE launched its flagship initiative, ELEVATE to promote gender diversity and grow women leaders. Through ELEVATE, CIRCLE addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, and 17, internationally recognized markers of progress.
A McKinsey Global Institute report finds that through advancing women’s equality, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025. Currently, only 25% of management positions are occupied by women globally, while in Pakistan less than 2% women are in leadership roles. Moreover, research also shows that women are under-represented at every level of the corporate pipeline.
Despite decades of progress towards making women equal partners with men in the economy & society, along with the commitment of many organizations, the gap between the two still remains large.
Elevate has three key goals, to accelerate women’s economic inclusion and empowerment:
1. Increase women’s representation on boards and leadership positions,
2. More women led businesses in supply chains,
3. Gender balanced conferences and panels.
ELEVATE Closing Ceremony
According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2018 report, Pakistan is ranked as the second worst country for gender parity. Research also shows women are underrepresented at every level of the corporate pipeline. The ELEVATE program brings women from different sectors to provide tools to exercise leadership, build allies and connect with mentors.
In June 2019, CIRCLE Women hosted the Closing Ceremony of its third ELEVATE: Growing Women Leaders Program cohort, to celebrate and champion 22 emerging women leaders from 6 leading companies:
- Dawood Hercules
- English Biscuit Manufacturers
- Ideas by GulAhmed
- Mitsubishi Corporation
- Reon Energy
- Telenor Microfinance Bank
Our Inspirational Speaker this year was Rafia Qaseem Baig, Pakistan and Asia’s first female Bomb Disposal Officer.
At the ELEVATE closing, while sharing her personal experience, she spoke about rising the ranks in a field dominated by men, encouraged the crowd to do the same, and break barriers along the way.
“People always tried to degrade and demotivate me, but I persisted. I persisted because I always knew that people will try to stop you in your path to success.
To rise above it depends on you: Either you build a wall of difficulties or a bridge towards success. I chose to build that bridge.”
Country Representative for UN Women Pakistan, Jamshed Kazi, in a message to our crowd, encouraged the corporate sector to come and work together to building a pipeline of female leaders. Mr. Kazi emphasized on the need for male allies, not just at home but at the workplace, as well.
“In today’s world, a girl who is born today will become an 80 year old woman before she stands the same chance as a man to become the CEO of a company. That’s a situation nobody should be satisfied with. “
Through ELEVATE, CIRCLE aims to mobilize CEOs and gain commitment from heavy-hitting corporations to grow women leaders and build gender diverse organizations which boost the bottom line.
ELEVATE champions include CEOs of leading corporates such as Jazz, UBL, Standard Chartered, Unilever, Mitsubishi Corp and National Foods. Several others are in discussions with CIRCLE.
ELEVATE mobilizes CEOs to commit to:
1. Increasing women’s employment,
2. Bring women in leadership roles, boards and women businesses into procurement and supply chains of companies,
3. Invest in growing women leaders,
4. Invest in initiatives for women’s empowerment.
Current #ElevatePak Supporters
Make A Difference
‘I pledge that I will only participate in balanced panels with at least one woman speaker in a panel of three or more.’
“It is imperative for every business leader to create an enabling culture, in order for more women to gain opportunities for leadership. This equity must begin with the commitment towards diversity and inclusion at all forums for dialogue.” -Shazia Syed, Chairperson & CEO, Unilever Pakistan Limited
Zafar A Khan
"Hard work and talent are normally enough to propel men forward in life. Not so women who have to be smarter, more driven, tenacious and thick-skinned to chart their way. The burden for change must fall equally, if not more, on male shoulders." -Ayesha Aziz, Managing Director Pak Brunei
"We cannot truly rise as a nation without giving our women a voice that is heard and respected. I pledge I shall participate in panels that ensure gender diversity and endeavor to facilitate the Elevate campaign." -FATIMA ASAD, Regional Director Abacus Consulting
Mushtaq K. Chhapra
Our Founding Members
The founding CEOs are men committed to advancing women in work force and leadership, while the overall campaign is supported by both men and women.