ISLAMABAD: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) and CA Women’s Committee celebrated Women’s Day in Islamabad to honour the achievements of working women. The ceremony was graced by Minister of Information & Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb who was also the cheid guest, ICAP Vice President Jaffar Hussain, CA Women Committee Chairperson Hina Usmani, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Executive Director Bushra Aslam, United Snacks Chief Financial Officer Iftikhar Taj and council members of ICAP, members of CA Women Committee and senior chartered accountants from the industry. In his address, ICAP VP Jaffar Hussain talked about progress of females in the field of chartered accountancy. He said that this colourful event of ICAP was taking place for the last two years, adding that this event had been organised at all three stations, Karachi, Lahore and now in Islamabad. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pakistan’s more than 50 percent population comprises of women and without involving such huge population the country could not progress. She said that Quaid-e-Azam wanted that the women of Pakistan should play their role shoulder by shoulder with their males for the development of the country. “Quaid-e-Azam always kept Fatima Jinnah with him in all events during the struggle for creation of Pakistan,” she added. She assured her support for the cause of women in case ICAP needs in future saying women should hold the hands of women to empower them. SECP Executive Direct Bushra Aslam, who was the keynote speaker, talked about Women in the Changing World of Work Planet 50-50 by 2030. She told that when she entered the profession, there were less number of women but now women are coming in large number that is encouraging trend. United Snacks CFO Iftikhar Taj and council member of ICAP in his formal address shed light on his professional experiences. He said that he did not find any difference between male and female in professional lives. He said that women are more loyal to the organisation than men. Hina Usmani highlighted the objectives of the committee. “I am honoured and privileged and highly thankful to all members of ICAP who reposed trust and confidence in me to represent as first female council member and chairperson CA Women Committee. My victory is the victory of all women, which is the outcome of encouragement of all our male members whose generosity and sincere support for gender diversity has made this possible. We are now looking forward to see more women at the council and regional committee levels from all over Pakistan,” she added. In 1992, the ratio of male to female members was 200:1, in 1997 it was 50:1, after 10 in 2007 it improved to 25:1 and I am proud to state that today there is one qualified female in every 12 male members in CA profession, Usmani said adding apparently this trend looks promising but if we compare current regional statistics we find ourselves far behind and see one female for every three male members in CA profession in other regional countries. She said that addressing issues faced by 600 female members comprising 7.5 percent of total membership is challenging. “At present more than 20 percent female members are unemployed due to non-availability of favorable work environment and cultural barriers. I feel that a cultural change is eminent coupled opportunities creation through technological advancements women can come forward and will also give confidence to their families. Our global recognition in all prominent countries of the world along with CA Women Brand significance will help in resolving these issues,” she added. There was a panel discussion on points including Working Women Dynamics, Maintain a Gender Parity Mind-Set, Challenge Stereotypes, Forge Positive Visibility of Women, Influence Other Beliefs & Actions and Celebrate Women’s Achievements followed by a Q/A session. The event concluded on an appreciative note with the participants looking to the next CA Women’s Day Celebration to enrich their experience. The well attended CA Women’s Day provided a platform to female chartered accountants from the leading industry and business to discuss debate and seek pragmatic solutions of emerging business and finance issues. A directory of female chartered accountants was also released on the occasion enabling government and other institutions to seek their services on voluntarily basis. The directory was also presented to Marriyum Aurangzeb. Published in Daily Times, April 16th 2018.