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IFC Partners with Pakistan Business Council to Promote Family-Friendly Practices

Karachi, June 18, 2019— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will work with the business advocacy group Pakistan Business Council to promote better career opportunities for working parents and adoption of family-friendly practices, such as childcare benefits.
Fourteen Pakistani companies and Pakistan-based multinational companies agreed to support parents in finding a greater balance between work and family responsibilities and implement family-friendly policies such as paternity leave, breastfeeding support, and employer-supported childcare under the initiative, Tackling Childcare Pakistan: Creating Family-Friendly Workplaces.
Lack of access to good-quality, affordable childcare is a key barrier to women joining and remaining in the workforce. Women represent only 7 percent of Pakistan’s formal labor force.
The 14 companies participating in the initiative include denim manufacturers Artistic Milliners and Soorty; direct investment firm Dawood Hercules Corporation; food manufacturers English Biscuit Manufacturers and National Foods Limited; agri-solutions, energy, petrochemicals and infrastructure conglomerate Engro Corporation; hosiery manufacturer Interloop Limited; banking and financial institutions HBL, JS Bank, and Standard Chartered; information and communication technology providers Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited and Telenor Group; technology and industrial manufacturer Siemens; and Serena Hotels.
Under the initiative, IFC, Pakistan Business Council, and six strategic partners, including the World Bank, UNICEF, UN Women Pakistan, National Commission on the Status of Women, and care providers CatCo Kids and Ubuntu Care will provide advice to the companies on childcare and family-friendly solutions as well as conduct a series of events to share knowledge on the topic. The participating companies will have a chance to attend workshops on topics such as supporting the role of men in caregiving and learn from one another. The peer-learning collaboration is the first of its kind in family-friendly workplaces in Pakistan.
“To realize business and economic gains, we must treat childcare and family-friendly policies as a government and corporate priority,” said Ehsan Malik, CEO, Pakistan Business Council.
IFC and Pakistan Business Council will also conduct an analysis on the current state of family-friendly workplaces and policies such as childcare, propose recommendations for public and private sector action, and promote a multi-stakeholder dialogue to accelerate progress.
“Family-friendly policies, such as childcare, can enable mothers and fathers to fulfil their work-life responsibilities and participate equally in the workforce,” said Shabana Khawar, Principal Country Officer, IFC. “This can in turn enable companies and the Pakistani economy to thrive.”
IFC’s Tackling Childcare research presents a strong business case for employers to provide family-friendly benefits, such as childcare, parental leave, safe transportation, lactation rooms, and flexible hours. For employers, business benefits can include reduced absenteeism and attrition, higher employee productivity and satisfaction, and access to a wider talent pool.
Tackling Childcare Pakistan is part of IFC’s Global Tackling Childcare Advisory Program and a broader effort to drive business and economic development and promote gender inclusion in Pakistan. This collaboration is modeled on IFC’s global SheWorks and Tackling Childcare partnerships.
About IFC
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 in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 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, visit www.ifc.org .  
About Pakistan Business Council
Pakistan Business Council (PBC) is a business policy advocacy platform, established in 2005 by 14 of Pakistan’s (now 79) largest private-sector businesses and conglomerates, including multinationals. Pakistan Business Council is a not-for-profit entity led by professional and economic experts. For more information, visit https://www.pbc.org.pk .
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