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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.’

Click here to sign the pledge #ElevatePak

Current #ElevatePak Supporters


About The Elevate Campaign

Elevate is CIRCLE Pakistan’s flagship campaign which works towards UN Global Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and UN Global Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, with a mission to promote women’s participation in the economy.

Our country, economy and community will be stronger, more prosperous and equitable if we invest in women and ensure that they too can contribute back in a significant way. The visibility of women is essential for creating role models for young women and men and for sustainable solutions for Pakistan’s problems. Women reinvest 90 cents of every $1 they earn back into their families (Nike Foundation 2005) and McKinsey research found that full gender parity would add $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025!

Elevate has three key goals in this regard, to accelerate women’s economic inclusion and empowerment:

  1. Increase women’s representation on boards
  2. More women led businesses in supply chains
  3. Gender balanced conferences and panels

The #ElevatePak campaign for gender diversity in conferences was launched in Karachi on March 2016, to shine a spotlight on women’s potential, talents and achievements. CIRCLE does this by:

  • Taking commitments from individuals and organisations to only participate in diverse panels
  • Hosting a database of over 250 women experts and speakers
  • Mapping conferences and influencing organisers to hold gender balanced events
  • Holding public speaking and leadership development workshops for women

The Elevate Campaign is a Local campaign inspired by and joining global efforts with:

  • Global call on International Women’s Day, “Pledging for Parity”
  • UN Global Goal 5: Gender Equality
  • UN Women, Planet 50-50: “Step It Up”

At its core, the campaign believes that investing in and advancing women is the smartest economic venture of today!

So, what are the next steps? Take a Pledge.

What you can do to support the campaign:

What you can do as a panel coordinator/conference organizer:

  • Make sure there is at least one female speaker on a panel
  • Ask CIRCLE for female speaker suggestions
  • Let more people know about Elevate and take a pledge

What you can do as an audience:

  • Ask organizers to invite female speakers and ask CIRCLE for suggestions
  • Watch out for #allmalepanels and bring them to CIRCLE’s attention
  • Let more people know about Elevate and take a pledge

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.

  • Michael Foley

    -Michael Foley CEO Telenor

  • Kimihide Ando

    -Kimihide Ando CEO Mitsubishi Corp

  • Amir Iqbal

    -Amir Iqbal CEO Bayer

  • -Ahmed Jalal CEO Aman Foundation

    -Ahmed Jalal CEO Aman Foundation

  • -Ziad Bashir Director Gul Ahmed

    -Ziad Bashir Director Gul Ahmed

  • -Asad Ali Khan CEO Abacus Consulting

    -Asad Ali Khan CEO Abacus Consulting

  • - Rizwan Ullah Khan General Manager Pakistan & Afghanistan Region

    -Rizwan Ullah Khan General Manager of The Coca Cola Company for Pakistan and Afghanistan Region

Our Endorsers

Naeem Zamindar

"Acumen has released a report that clearly shows enterprises with more gender balance perform better across indicators. I pledge that I will include women on all panels that Acumen organizes, and urge inclusion of women on all panels on which I participate. Elevate is an initiative that will quickly start producing strong results and a richer experiences for any event." -Naeem Zamindar, CEO Acumen Pakistan

Tariq Kirmani

"I fully support your initiative The Elevate Campaign in support of women being given equal opportunities in all spheres of life rather being discriminated against." -Tariq Kirmani, Chairman Green Star

Shazia Syed

“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

"We have severely limited our potential as a nation by not giving equal participation to women at the leadership level. This has to change for a better Pakistan. My nearly five decades of work experience convinces me that this is the way forward." -Zaffar A. Khan, (S.I) Adjunct Professor IBA & former CEO of Engro Chemicals

Ayesha Aziz

"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

Naz Khan

"It is unfortunate that we are still debating parity. Women’s participation at a broader level is no longer a choice, it is an imperative." -Naz Khan, CFO Engro Corp

Fatima Asad

1"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

Nadeem Husain

"I have always had females in my management team.  Women look at problems from a different lens. They provide texture and diversity. I am more than pleased to support the Elevate campaign." -NADEEM HUSSAIN, Founder, President & CEO Tameer Bank

Zeelaf Munir

"Women in leadership enhance organizational excellence. Therefore, we must inspire, organize, mentor and empower women to help them reach leadership ranks in the public and private sectors. We must also safeguard their rights - because women’s rights are human rights and our nation’s future is linked with the future of our women". -ZEELAF MUNIR, CEO English Biscuit


"Women's voices are systematically excluded from global and local public discourses." -MOSHARRAF ZAIDI, Columnist, Diplomat and Political Activist

Rafay Alam

"I've been researching water law and policy the past few years. Half the people in the world who consume water are women. Several hundred rivers and basins are transboundary. Yet none of the laws, policies or institutions overlooking the subject have any women representatives. It's appalling. I formally pledge to ensure I never appear on any panel of three or more people that does not include at least one woman." -Rafay Alam, Environmental Lawyer and Activist

Bilal Lakhani

"Society is shortchanged when women’s voices aren’t heard or listened to. I will not sit on any panel where women aren’t present." -Bilal Lakhani, Founder and Publisher of The Express Tribune

Kamran Rizvi

"The time to build an inclusive world is now - now more than ever, as the challenges confronting humanity have grown exponentially. It is through love, understanding and a sense of fair play that human beings around the world, regardless of their gender, can actively share in the responsibility of leading and inspiring people in their respective spheres of influence, at home, at work and in society." -Kamran Rizvi, Founder of KZR Associates

Babar Ali

"Experience has taught me that elevating women elevates us all." -Syed Babur Ali, Businessman, Philanthropist and former Finance Minister


"It's elementary! We will eventually only achieve half our potential as humankind, if women are not an equal part of all our personal, business, societal and global endeavors." -Khurram Zafar, Executive Director LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship

Seema Tahir

“Women’s ideas and perspectives are as crucial as any other member of an organization. They bring miscellany and diversity to the table. It is quite unfortunate that even now this fact is still a matter of debate.” -Seema Tahir, CEO Airwaves Media

Mushtaq K. Chhapra

“More than half of 25 million children of Pakistan who are not in school today are girls. Let’s invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment to unlock the human potential on a transformational scale. Let our girls learn and do wonders.” -Mushtaq K. Chhapra, TCF Chairman and Founder

Sadia Khan

"We need to ensure that the corporate mindset is geared towards ensuring the alignment of its principles of gender parity across all spheres of its economic activity. For this to happen, we need the decision makers, to comprise of at least a few of those with these issues closest to their hearts." -Sadia  Khan, Selar Enterprises (pvt) ltd


tushna "Women are essential for adding perspective and diversity to any discussion or organization. The importance of gender balance and its positive impact on society and business are statistically proven." -Tushna Kandawalla Director Captain PQ Chemical Industries


muneza "Silence on the part of women, earlier considered to be a virtue is now equivalent to an offence as it represents inadequate utility of one of the five senses bestowed by the Almighty." -Moneeza Usman Butt Partner KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co;Chartered Accountants

Sana Mir

sana-mir "Women have to be each other's strength. We need to learn to support one another so that our position in this country improves." -Sana Mir Captain of Pakistan's National Women's cricket team

Our Partners

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  • lums
  • i2i
  • US-Pakistan-Women
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