Pakistan’s Million Women Mentor Initiative: The Pakistan Million Women Mentors (MWM) Initiative is a U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council initiative, led by the company Pod, meant to foster mentoring relationships for Pakistani women and girls. Mentoring is a powerful way to encourage women and girls to pursue their career goals and leadership opportunities. The MWM movement was created by STEMconnector, an initiative spearheaded by Pod, to combat the consistent dearth of females pursuing and remaining in STEM careers. Through the Pakistan MWM Initiative, we hope to create mentoring relationships between American and Pakistani women and girls and within Pakistan across all sectors.
The Pakistan Million Women Mentors Initiative aims to:
- Convene leading businesses in Pakistan to raise awareness of best practices in developing mentoring programs;
- Develop a mentoring coalition to provide resources for women and men interested in mentoring;
- Curate mentoring relationships between women and men on key issues related to expanding women’s workforce participation and/or women’s entrepreneurship.
To Get Started:
- Register your mentoring pledge at the online MWM portal: https://mwm.stemconnector.com/global/pakistan/.
- Identify a company mentoring champion (ideally, this person will be in Human Resources).
- With your mentoring champion, identify your goals. What do you want to accomplish through this initiative?
- Identify women-serving organizations that align with your goals and priorities.
- Track your mentoring commitments through the MWM portal.
- See your employees and the women and girls you mentor grow and succeed!
Pakistan Women’s Business Opportunity Initiative: In March 2019, WEConnect International announced the Pakistan Women’s Business Opportunity Initiative, a program to train and certify women-owned businesses to succeed in global value chains. The Pakistan Women’s Business Opportunity Initiative is a project of the Voices Against Violence: The Gender-Based Violence Global Initiative (VAV). The VAV Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of State and Avon Foundation for Women, led by Vital Voices Global Partnership and managed by a consortium of organizations, including Promundo, CARE and Global Fund for Women. WEConnect International is a corporate-led non-profit that identifies, educates, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside of the United States and then connects them with member buyers, representing over one trillion dollars (US) in annual purchasing power, committed to gender-inclusive sourcing and supplier development. Vital Voices Global Partnership is an international non-profit organization that empowers and champions women leaders around the world.
Summer Sisters Exchange Program: In July 2019, the U.S. Department of State and American University in coordination with iEARN Pakistan, welcomed the fourth cohort of the Summer Sisters Exchange Program in Washington, D.C. A program designed to support underprivileged adolescent girls from across Pakistan gain academic experiences at leading U.S. universities and leadership development programs, Summer Sisters has reached more than 90 young women from Pakistan since the Council launched it in 2014. Participating universities have included American University, Babson College, Barnard College, Duke University, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, Brown University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Smith University, the University of Chicago, and Washington University.
U.S.- Pakistan Women’s Council Speaker Series: In August 2019, Ambassador Alice Wells, then-U.S. Department of State’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Council co-chair, launched the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council Speaker Series in Islamabad. The speaker series aims to catalyze public events held by the private sector and civil society to address barriers and solutions to women’s economic empowerment, inspiring, empowering, and equipping women and girls to succeed and thrive in their current and future economic activities, small and large. Held regularly, speaker series events are typically recorded and form a digital library, an effort by the Council to extend its reach to women and girls across Pakistan.
U.S.-Pakistan Symposium on Women in the Economy: In November 2019, Texas A&M University and the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council co-hosted the U.S.-Pakistan Symposium on Women in the Economy to exchange lessons learned and best practices to accelerate women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan. Opening speakers included Deputy Chief of Mission designate from the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C. Ubaid Nizamani, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pakistan Affairs at the State Department Ervin Massinga, and Texas A&M University President Michael Young. Special assistant to Prime Minister Khan for social protection and poverty alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar served as the Symposium’s keynote speaker.
Women’s Business Education Initiative, “Khudi”: The Khudi Initiative, led by the Promotion of Education (PEP) Foundation in coordination with the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to help strengthen the capacity of university affiliated business incubation centers in Pakistan to incubate and launch female led firms in Pakistan.
Pakistan Future of Women and Work Initiative: The U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council in coordination with the U.S. Embassy Pakistan, Texas A&M, S&P Global, and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the Pakistan Future of Women and Work Initiative in July 2021, initiating a nation-wide survey to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working women in the formal economy in Pakistan. Around the world, women have been uniquely impacted by the ongoing pandemic with adverse impacts on women’s entrepreneurship and workforce participation, mental health, levels of gender-based violence, and access to finance among other challenges. The Pakistan Future of Women and Work Initiative will catalyze research, public discourse and private sector commitments to address gaps facing women amidst the ongoing pandemic in Pakistan. Key objectives include:
- Fostering Data and Research: S&P Global in coordination with the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and local partners will design and deploy a survey capturing the impact of the ongoing pandemic on women’s workforce participation in Pakistan.
- Generating public discourse: The U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, S&P Global, Texas A&M University and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council will engage audiences in Pakistan alongside cooperating partners to discuss acute challenges facing women in the economy in Pakistan resulting from the pandemic.
- Catalyzing private sector commitments to advance women’s economic empowerment: The Future of Women and Work Initiative will work with private sector and civil society organizations to catalyze commitments to address gaps facing women in the economy in Pakistan.