New York: Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells participated in the U.S. launch of the second phase of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council (USPWC) on the Sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The second phase launched by kicking off the Pakistan Million Women Mentor Initiative with a speed mentoring session. The event was co-hosted by the USPWC, Citi, U.S.-Pakistan Business Council and convened approximately 75 leaders from the private sector, civil society, Government of Pakistan, and the U.S. government, including the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Other speakers included Citi’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Global Treasury Trade Solutions Kristen Holden, U.S.-Pakistan Business Council President Esperanza Jelalian, and Dr. Sania Nishtar, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection.
Addressing on the occasion Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said collectively, our members know that accelerating women’s economic empowerment is good for business and good for Pakistan. It is linked to global competitiveness and productivity, job creation and economic growth.
Alice Wells said that the Pakistan’s rankings on gender parity in workforce participation, education and health outcomes are among the lowest in the world. Only 12 percent of firms in Pakistan are owned by women and female labor force participation rates remain low. Leaders across the Government of Pakistan, civil society, academia and Diaspora in the United States, many of whom are here today, are working to address the challenges facing women and girls in Pakistan.
The session facilitated mentoring between professional leaders and Pakistani exchange students in the United States. It launches the new Pakistan Million Women Mentors Initiative, an effort that aims to connect one million women and girls in Pakistan to mentors over the next three years. Citi highlighted its pledge to mentor 3,000 women and girls during the event. Other companies that have pledged include S&P Global, The Resource Group, Zafa Pharmaceuticals, KFC, and PepsiCo.
The USPWC is a public-private partnership between the State Department and Texas A&M University, working in collaboration with U.S. and Pakistani businesses and organizations for women’s economic advancement in Pakistan. The event follows a Pakistan launch of the second phase of the USPWC, which took place in March 2019 at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi led by Charge d’affaires Paul Jones.