Karachi: Pakistan’s woman is actively pursuing their career having 14 percent share of workforce in IT industry out of which 37 percent are presently working at the mid-executive positions whereas 13 percent are holding senior Management positions in renowned local and multinational companies.
These findings were disclosed in the launching ceremony of the research study “Pakistan Women in Technology” at the local hotel on Monday.
The research is based on responses from 50 companies and 125 individuals – it targeted IT companies as well as large IT departments within non-IT companies.
The participation of women in the workforce has been shown to have positive effects on a nation’s economy. P@SHA, as the IT industry representative organization in Pakistan, undertook this research to understand the real on-ground realities of women working in technology here, Jehan Ara, President P@SHA said.
“We aimed to not only get real facts and figures on women’s participation in IT but also aimed to explore the extent to which women are enabled and equipped to succeed in IT. We explored key reasons which may also prevent new entries into the IT field, as well as factors affecting women’s growth. We hope that this report can be a first step towards gaining visibility for the critical roles that women play in this otherwise male-dominated industry,” she added.
“This is odd,” she said “because IT is a field that has opened up so many opportunities for women.”
The data also pointed towards the presence of the infamous glass ceiling. Despite years of experience a large proportion of the women have been unable to move beyond mid-level positions.
Another observation was the significantly low number of women who hold more than seven years of work experience under their belt. This stunted retention can be attributed to the ‘leaky pipeline effect’, whereby life events force women’s careers to often take a back seat.
In the context of HR policies and practices, a majority of women were satisfied with their work environment. While paid maternity leave, flexible hours and emergency leave were the most commonly offered benefits – there were still some companies who failed to incorporate paid maternity leave (a basic HR benefit worldwide) in their package.
The participants complained about long hours and recommended flexible and shorter work timings, transportation and day care facilities.
One gap identified was the lack of training and mentoring programs. Most of the polled companies did not extend such opportunities to female employees, despite their proven effectiveness in enhancing the abilities of employees.
Women reported that they did not feel undervalued in comparison to male counterparts but wished to see a reduction in gender stereotyping of IT roles.