M Fazal Elahi
Though a very rare phenomenon in Pakistan, yet there are instances where women have truly made a mark for themselves and have reached the highest levels in their respective careers. A woman who has lately joined the ranks of such successful women of Pakistan is Sima Kamil, a seasoned banker by profession, who has attained the position of CEO of the country’s third-largest Bank, UBL. Her new appointment makes Sima Kamil the first-ever woman to head a major commercial bank in Pakistan. This undoubtedly is a ground-breaking development in a country where the economy is growing but the invisible barriers vis-à-vis women remain unyielding.
Regardless of all limitations that continue to confront the women of Pakistan, the fact remains that Sima Kamil is the first woman to head a major commercial bank of the country. Undeniably, this is a gigantic step forward in Pakistan’s banking and corporate sectors. History bears testimony to the fact that women in Pakistan have struggled for decades to obtain rights for themselves; they still continue to do so. However, only a few have headed any high-profile entities in the country. Yet another woman who succeeded in breaking the barriers and reaching the citadel of authority in her professional career is Shazia Syed who was appointed as the CEO of the Dutch-British multinational-Unilever Pakistan last year. This strongly indicates that things are transforming in Pakistan, though at a snail’s pace.
Women in Pakistan are being empowered, but earnest endeavours are required to be made to gear up things in this realm. If this vital but inadequately exploited human resource of the country is considered essential for concrete national development, and if Pakistan is to stand out conspicuously in the comity of enlightened and respected societies of the world, the Government of Pakistan will have to make planned and concerted efforts to bring about a noteworthy change in the status of women of this country.