Islamabad, Pakistan, February 13, 2020
– IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced that Serena Hotels
Pakistan has become the first Pakistani company to gain certification from
Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE), the world’s leading independent
appraiser of gender equality in business, signifying that the hotel chain
is committed to improving opportunities for women.
IFC worked with Serena Hotels to help
it reach this milestone. The company gained certification from the EDGE
Foundation for meeting initial commitments on gender equality, diversity,
and inclusion, and for agreeing on a roadmap for further workplace reforms
in the future.
“Women make up 12 percent of
our overall workforce, despite many social and cultural challenges,” said
Aziz Boolani, Chief Executive Officer of Serena Hotels. “As a leading
hotel chain, Serena Hotels makes every effort to encourage women for their
professional development for assuming higher positions, including the leadership
IFC’s work aims to improve Pakistan’s
daunting workforce gender gap. Although 47 percent of students enrolled
in Pakistani universities are women, only 25 percent of them are employed,
compared with 84 percent of men. Narrowing the gap is crucial to the future
of millions of women in Pakistan, as well as to the broader economy. An
IFC study in 2018 estimated that fully eliminating the gender gap would
increase Pakistan’s GDP by 30 percent.
“There is no doubt that companies can
deliver greater business impact and be more competitive by fostering an
equitable and inclusive workplace for women and men,” said Nadeem Siddiqui,
IFC’s Senior Manager for Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We hope more companies
in Pakistan will discover the strength of the business case for greater
gender equality in the workplace.”
The certification follows a 12-month
partnership between IFC and the Pakistan Business Council that included
the development of a program to identify and address barriers to women’s
employment. Presenting peer-learning activities and knowledge tools, the
program engaged more than 335 executives from the Pakistan business community
on topics including female employee retention, anti-sexual harassment policies,
women in leadership, and the business case for women’s employment.
IFC and the Pakistan Business Council
hosted the “Employer of Choice for Gender Balance” awards in 2018, with
Serena Hotels among the firms recognized as a top performer. As an EDGE-certified
company, Serena Hotels joins the ranks of almost 200 firms across five
continents that are striving to create a workplace where men and women
have equal opportunities to thrive and grow professionally.
IFC’s relationship with Serena Hotels
in Pakistan began in 2007, when it invested in expanding
the company’s Islamabad location.
IFC has worked with Serena Hotels operator Tourism Promotion Services,
a subsidiary of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, to construct
or refurbish hotels in Afghanistan,
IFC—a sister organization
of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global
development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise,
and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed
most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term
financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private
sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,