KARACHI: The metropolis’ sole power supplier, K-Electric, has launched multiple initiatives to boost gender-diversity and inclusion in Pakistan’s power sector to achieve one of the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals.
According to a press release issued Sunday, the K-Electric introduced the ‘Roshni Baji’ programme in February 2021 “through which forty women have been on-boarded and trained as safety ambassadors”.
“These women will engage with over 100,000 households in their own communities to raise awareness about general safety, electrical safety, rain safety, power theft hazards and energy conservation,” the statement read. “They will also eventually be trained as certified electricians, creating a new talent pool for the industry at large.”
The statement comes ahead of the International Women’s Day 2021 — March 8 — wherein the power giant aims to “recognise and celebrate the contribution and accomplishments of today’s growing female workforce and the key role that women play in our lives”.
Aimed at challenging traditionally masculine roles in the power sector, as well as other jobs, the company hired its first five women grid operating officers (GOOs) to tackle gender stereotypes in the transmission business.
Prior to that, it had inducted two women at executive-level posts and introduced women metre-readers back in 2019, organised the First Women’s Football League in 2018, and sponsored the Girls Boxing Championship’ for female boxers from Lyari.
The K-Electric acknowledged that Pakistan’s power and energy sector “remains one of the least gender diverse sectors [in which] women face structural and cultural challenges in professional growth and success”. It also underscored, citing the country’s 151st ranking on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap Index 2020, that women faced challenges in health, education and financial inclusion.
The power supplier said it was employing more women in technical roles, focusing on a gender-balanced workplace, and increasing representation, part of which included “enabling women to move into senior management positions, as well as taking on roles traditionally considered to be a man’s job”.
In this regard, K-Electric Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Sadia Dada noted that the company doubled women’s representation over the past two years, “including, for the first time, two women leaders in KE’s seven member C-Suite”.
Dada cited a study by WePower and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistant Programme that found that “women constitute only 4% of the workforce in Pakistan’s energy utilities”.
The efforts and initiatives undertaken by the K-Electric, the statement noted, “resonates with the ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world International Women’s Day (IWD)’ agenda for 2021”.