Pakistan isn’t meeting its economic potential, and some of that has to do with widespread gender equality, according to a recent research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, which shows Pakistan at the bottommost end of gender equality at work.
MGI, the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Co, judged 18 economies in the Asia-Pacific region for gender equality in work and the society in general. India and Pakistan were judged furthest from gender parity, whereas Singapore tops the list with highest gender parity levels in the region.
According to the data collected during the research, Pakistan currently stands at the farthest end of the Index at a staggering 0.20, where 0 means no gender equality and 1 is gender parity.
“Men who joined the organisation with me have all been promoted now, simply because they have social connections with male bosses. If that is not discrimination, I don’t know what is,” said Maheen Khan, banking executive while talking to Pakistan Today.
The report further suggests that Pakistan’s standing as far as gender inequality at work is concerned comes under the category, ‘extremely high’ which is a worrying factor for women in the workforce.
“Women can help — and are helping — to power this engine, making vital contributions to sustaining and enhancing Asia’s growth and lifting more people out of poverty,” the report’s authors wrote. “Yet gaps remain large in many countries in the region on gender equality both in work and in society.”
Four women out of every 10 men are given leadership roles globally; however, the ratio is only one woman out of four men in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the report. There’s a lot of potential for gender parity in digital and financial inclusion in South and Southeast Asia, however, physical security and autonomy are the fields that do present a sorry state of affairs.
The report shows that half of the combined Asia-Pacific population consists of women but their contribution in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is only 36 per cent of the $26 trillion – which is the same as the global share.
The Asia-Pacific region as a whole has shown “significant progress” in several areas, says the report, especially maternal health and adult literacy, however, considerable steps need to be taken to increase women’s active participation in the workforce.
According to the report, this alarming state of gender inequality can be tackled with increased focus on higher female labour-force participation in quality jobs, addressing the pressing regional and global issue of women’s underrepresentation in business leadership positions, capturing the economic and social benefits of improving women’s access to digital technology and shifting attitudes about women’s role in society and work.
‘MORE VISIBILITY WILL LEAD TO EQUALITY’:
Women’s Digital League Head Maria Umar while talking to Pakistan Today said that organisations are now finally taking notice of the fact that women are not being given proper representation in the top tiers of management, however, nothing concrete is being done to improve the situation.
“Gender equality can be achieved only through gender inclusion. The problem is that people do talk about women inclusion but they do not understand that for that to happen, more women need to be invited to conferences, seminars etc., to make them more visible,” she said.
Maria said that this is one of the concrete steps that can be taken in this direction in order to increase gender equality.
“More inclusion in these things will mean more visibility which might eventually lead to equality,” she concluded.