9th March 2023
In a recently published article, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) takes a look at the successful rise of female chartered accountants in Pakistan and in particular the pivotal role played by Hina Usmani, Partner at MGI Worldwide member firm Ilyas Saeed & Co., Karachi.
First Women Forum
The movement in Pakistan to increase inclusiveness and gender within the CA profession began in 2010 with the formation of a women-centric forum for female CAs (named Chartered Accountants Women Forum, or CAWF), aimed at networking and mutual support.
Hina explains that the forum initially hosted fairly informal events focussing on how to get more women engaged within the profession. During quarterly gatherings CAWF would give motivational speeches, counselling sessions and run team building activities.
As the years passed, the forum’s ambitions grew. Hina explains:
“The minds at CAWF thought to do two things: first, to convert their forums into a formal woman-focused committee and secondly, to push for at least one seat reserved for women on the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan (ICAP) Council.”
The first committee of over 15 women was formed in 2017 with a male council member leading it in the absence of woman council member. Same year CAWF has put forward one female candidate to run for an ICAP seat in the elections. Hina was a consensus candidate and following the extraordinary efforts of all her colleagues, was successful in the 2017 election campaign. She achieved the second highest number of votes for all candidates, becoming the first elected woman in the council in its 56-year history.
With a newly formed committee, and Hina as Chairperson, some new strategic goals were set out and new programmes initiated which among others included:
- The CA girls Nurturing Program, aimed to bring more women to the profession.
- The Women on Board initiative, intended to onboard and train women to occupy leadership positions. A directory was published naming all eligible women for board positions.
- The Entrepreneurship Program intended to empower women on career breaks by training them on practical and technical knowledge.
- Capacity building measures, which encompass basic skills development through courses such as advanced excel, etc.
- Mentoring sessions
- The Gender Policy, which advocated for more inclusive work environments for women.
- Published a book “An Inspiring Journey of CA Women” documenting historic women participation in CA profession since inception of the Institute in 1961.
Thanks to such initiatives, women CAs in Pakistan have achieved significant progress. Today, CA-qualified women in Pakistan make up 9% of total CAs in in the country, compared to only 4% in 2005. Pakistan now has over 1,000 female Chartered Accountants. This increase is a direct outcome of the efforts to increase inclusion which were made at the institutional level, and especially those efforts to bring females into leadership positions by women such as Hina.
About Hina Usmani
Hina is a Partner at member firm Ilyas Saeed & Co. in Pakistan and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) with more than 30 years of combined work and professional practice experience. Hina is also an active member MGI Worldwide’s ‘Women Who Lead’ group, launched last year in celebration of MGI Worldwide’s exceptional female talent.
Click to read the article, Female Chartered Accountants in Pakistan: A Success Story in full.
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