July 6, 2021: P@SHA released D&I, ‘Diversity and Inclusion Framework: for Pakistani IT Companies’. According to Shamim Rajani, Chair Person P@SHA D&I Committee, the mission of the D&I committee has been to improve the current inclusion ratios in Pakistani IT companies by creating awareness, collecting data, and providing support, wherever possible.

As highlighted by the report the IT sector in Pakistan:

Is ranked 4th internationally in freelance development.

Has over 1500 registered companies, and this excludes all the operations running in the informal sector.

Is expected to reach a GDP of $10 billion in the next 3 years.

With this in perspective, it is needless to say that the technology sector can absorb all kinds of people, from all genders and backgrounds. However, at the moment only 29% of the people employed in the IT sector are women. This problem is not specific to Pakistan, in fact, it also exists in the developed and highly civilized nations. Women employed in technical positions at Apple, Google, and Facebook are only 23% and only 20% at Microsoft.

In Pakistan initiatives like WomenInTechPK, Pakistani Women in Computing, Women Engineers Pakistan, TechKaro, and CodeGirls have been advocating for better inclusion ratios. Using the case studies and data accumulated by these platforms the D&I committee has provided an easy-to-use benchmarking tool. The tool can be used for assessing your business’ diversity and inclusion standing and planning accordingly for the future.

How to Ensure Diversity and Inclusion?

The report suggests that company policies, culture, and core values must be carefully drafted for a diverse workplace. More than that there is a need to have provisions in infrastructure when you are hiring women, differently-abled people, or people from different religious backgrounds. Separate restrooms, prayer area, facility in the workspace for mobilizing wheelchairs, daycare for working mothers, maternity and paternity leaves, allowance to work from home, and work part-time are some of the amenities which, have been highlighted in the paper.

The workplaces should have a safe and comfortable design for people of all backgrounds and needs. It is also essential in today’s world that workplaces are equipped with proper safety measures and surveillance systems. Along with safety, and inclusion it should not be missed to ensure creativity and productivity. For that, the workplace layout must include small break-out rooms. It is needless to add that the office décor should not in any way hurt anyone’s beliefs or value system.

While incorporating these changes, the HRM in every organization must form a D&I team with adequate female representation. This team should be accessible whenever any employee needs to talk. There should be regular training sessions to ensure that all employees understand the organization’s culture and are eager to adapt.

For the details, you can read the document here: D&I Framework

10Pearls, Contour Software, dotZero, Systems, AutoSoft, S&PGlobal, ConsulNet Corporation, Genetech Solutions, Rapid Compute, Sunbonn, Stewart, NextGen, Rozee.pk, WomenInTechPK, Epiphany, NDC Tech, NETSOL, and The Circle are some of the organizations which have contributed to the compilation of the Diversity and Inclusion Framework.

The report emphasizes that this is a working document. Although there has been an effort to make it comprehensive in every possible manner, it shall grow with time to accommodate changes occurring in the IT careers and eco-system in the future.

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