Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Akif Saeed has said that as the apex regulator of the corporate sector and capital markets in Pakistan, SECP facilitates an inclusive economic and work environment.
He informed that females in senior management positions at SECP now account for 38 percent while 51 percent of all new recruitments in the last year have been females. Likewise, maternity leave has been extended from 90 days to 180 days.
SECP chairman made these remarks while addressing the gathering at Annual Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks Awards 2023. He said that the Companies Act, 2017 formally addressed the topic of diversity and inclusivity for the first time followed by subsequent Listed Companies (Code of Corporate Governance) Regulations, 2019.
He said SECP has formulated a comprehensive action plan to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion, including but not limited to ensuring female representation in all management/executive committees as well as new recruitments. Likewise, in terms of policy reforms, SECP has introduced reforms in the code of corporate governance, mandating listed companies to have at least one female director on board, Saeed said in his speech.
He said the requirement to mention the husband’s name by a married woman or widow for registration of a company has also been abolished, while an enabling framework has also been put in place for the issuance of gender bonds, and encouraging boards of listed companies, NBFCs, and insurance companies to implement Gender Diversity Policies and keep track of gender-disaggregated data.
The SECP chairman said that as a result of these reforms, more than 6,000 companies that got registered since January 2015 are being headed by women as CEOs. Moreover, 87 percent of listed companies have women directors on board. The Secured Transaction Registry has provided financial facilities to 2,364 businesses owned by women and nearly 72 percent of borrowers in non-banking microfinance companies are female, he added.
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