The US-Pakistan Women’s Council seeks to increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan through entrepreneurship, employment, and education. Established in 2012, the Council is led by a partnership between the U.S. State Department and American University (AU) in cooperation with public and private stakeholders in both countries. The Council coordinates pilot efforts within its network in order to build synergies, multiply impacts and achieve a demonstration effect.
In 2016, Citigroup, General Electric, Telenor and The Resources Group joined The Coca-Cola Company, Engro, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble as corporate Council members. Members implement Council commitments that empower women and strengthen Pakistan's economy through hiring and supply chain diversity initiatives, internships and other activities.
July 2016 – The Pakistan Women Entrepreneurship Program (PWEP) managed through a partnership between AU and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) began its second year. In March 2016, the program completed a pilot certificate course for women that provided tailored, intensive assistance and leadership training to help 68 women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses.
April 2016 - Council members PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble joined locally-based companies Bulleshah Paper Mills and Dinnipon Inks at an event hosted by Packages Limited in Lahore to launch the Council's supply chain diversity initiative. More than 70 women entrepreneurs from the AU-LUMS Pakistan Women Entrepreneur program (PWEP) and World Bank Womenx entrepreneur programs learned about corporate procurement requirements and potential opportunities.
January 2016 - The WECREATE/Pakistan women's entrepreneurship center established with State Department support became self-sustaining under the leadership of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). The Islamabad center has provided support for 661 existing women's businesses, trained 210 business mentors, launched 38 startups and created 531 new jobs. Overall, 235,454 people have been reached through expert trainings, information sessions, showcases, competitions, social media and radio.
Spring 2016 – Women's career advancement and leadership are part of the Council's employment objective. Following 2015 women in corporate leadership conferences that drew over 120 corporate executives and stakeholders, the CIRCLE initiatives launched an Elevate Campaign to ensure women's voices are included in public fora, and and an Elevate the Youth Accelerator social innovative program.
February 2016 - A council co-branded Women in Business and Leadership Conference (WIBCON) arranged by the Pakistan Society for Training and Development (PSTD) gathered close to 100 company executives and experts in Karachi to formulate women's corporate advancement strategies.
January 2016 - Pilot activities carried out by corporate Council members promote women's employment in Pakistan. During consultations in Islamabad, the Council secured commitments from partners able to provide qualified female candidates to our corporate members and cooperators for corporate job opportunities. The 19,000 strong Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) of students and professionals from diverse sectors in Pakistan has agreed to partner on their efforts.
Education and Training Pilots
Summer 2016 – The U.S. Summer Sisters program, now part of the White House Let Girls Learn initiative, helps underprivileged Pakistani high school girls explore education and career options and strategies through pre-college programs. In 2016, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the National Student Leadership Conference and Washington University in St. Louis joined American University, Babson College, Barnard College, George Washington University, Harvard University, Smith College and the Eleanor Roosevelt leadership Center at Vassar College to provide over $107,000 in scholarships. PepsiCo is providing $20,000 to sponsor 2017 Summer Sisters Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students.
“Before this experience, I wanted to be a chartered accountant; but now I want to start my own business, so I may be able to provide job opportunities for women. In this way they may be able to become a part of our society in a true sense.” – 2014 Summer Sisters participant at American University
“Studying two very different courses, Micro Controllers and
Robotics, has certainly helped me find my interest, since I had never
studied these subjects in Pakistan. This is why I now wish to study
Robotics for my undergraduate school and later on, introduce this degree
in Pakistan as well.” – 2015 Summer Sisters participant at Smith College
Summer 2016 – Since 2014, 100 women college students have gained job experience tailored to their career interests
September 2016 – The U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council celebrates its fourth anniversary. In September 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar launched the Council at the United Nations with American University Dean of International Studies Dr. James Goldgeier, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman, U.S. Global Women’s Issues Ambassador at Large Melanne Verveer (Co-Chairing the Council with AU President Dr. Neil Kerwin) and Honorary Friend of the Council Shaista Mahmood.
June 2016 – 280 U.S. and Pakistani companies gathered in New York for the fourth U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference. Corporate Council members The Coca-Cola Company, General Electric and Procter & Gamble shared experiences on a “How Gender Diversity Can Boost Your Bottom Line” plenary panel with Additional Secretary of Commerce and new Honorary Council Friend, Robina Ather. Council Co-Chair Ambassador Catherine Russell moderated. Ather and Russell also signed an Action Plan for the 2014 MOU on women’s economic empowerment that will launch a national “Women in the Economy Forum” designed to advance public-private coordination.
January 2016 – On a visit to Islamabad coinciding with the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council delegation, the Executive Director led Council team consultations with public and private partners on strategy, as well as in recruiting new company members and consolidating Council initiative implementation networks.
How You Can Help
Become a Member: The Council includes companies and organizations that promote economic opportunities for women in Pakistan.
Support Entrepreneurship: Offer mentoring, training or supply chain (services and products) contracting opportunities.
Expand Employment: Widen the qualified women candidate pool by sharing information and opportunities through our network.
Promote Higher Education and Professional Training: Through support for Summer Sisters, internships and other programs.