Coca-Cola and The National Incubation Center teamed up to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 in Pakistan with a special event focused on the global theme of Embracing Equity.
The event highlighted the issue of water equity and its disproportionate impact on women and children in Pakistan, where 40% of the population lacks access to clean drinking water.
The previous year’s floods made the situation even worse, contaminating water sources and making safe drinking water a scarce resource. Rural women, in particular, were affected, having to travel long distances to collect water for their families.
To help address this issue, Coca-Cola partnered with Indus Earth Trust and Bondh E Shams to install a solar-powered water filtration system in Ali Muhammad Jokhio village, Thatta.
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The filtration system produces 10,000 liters of clean water every day, providing a critical resource to the local community. In addition, innovative water wheels were provided to women to help them carry water more easily.
At the event, Safia and Asia, two women from the Ali Muhammad Jhokio village, shared their perspectives and first-hand experiences of the critical connection between women and access to safe drinking water.
Their stories highlighted the challenges faced by women in rural communities and the impact of water scarcity on their daily lives.
The event featured a relevant and timely keynote by Senator and Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik, serving as a critical bridge in the relationship between women, water, power and development.
A key panel discussion was focused on gender and climate action, led by Aisha Sarwari, Director of Public Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company.
The discussion highlighted the importance of gender equity and clean water and sanitation in achieving sustainable development goals, of which gender equality (SDG 5) and clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) are among key priorities for Coca-Cola.
The panelists included journalist Munizae Jahangir, Dr. Imran Khalid, Director of Policy and Governance at the WWF-Pakistan, and Rajaa Bokhari, Program Manager of Pakistan Business Council.
The discussion focused on the importance of gender equity and clean water and sanitation in achieving sustainable development goals.
Coca-Cola is committed to creating equal opportunities for women in their business and the communities they serve. Women bear a disproportionate impact of climate change, as evident from the floods in Pakistan.
To address this issue, Coca-Cola responded to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Pakistan Business Council’s (PBC) Climate2Equal Call to Action by pledging to increase women’s involvement in consultations on water conservation and make them the main stakeholders in climate-focused interventions.
“Women in Pakistan have faced systemic disadvantages and we believe in fixing the fundamentals first. Access to clean drinking water is a game changer, especially in times of natural disasters and climate change catastrophes,” said Aisha Sarwari, Director of Public Relations, Communications, and Sustainability.
The event also featured a panel discussion on ‘Female Inclusion in the Workforce’ led by startup WeCamp. The discussion focused on the challenges faced by women in the workplace and best practices for promoting gender equality in the workforce.
The panelists included journalist and founder of The MM Edit, Maria Memon, Aqsa Khan, CEO of Milma Trips, and Fozia Asim, a home-based entrepreneur behind Saqafat.
Overall, the event was a critical opportunity to highlight the challenges faced by women in rural communities in Pakistan and the importance of gender equity and clean water and sanitation in achieving sustainable development goals.
Coca-Cola’s partnership with local organizations and commitment to empowering women in their businesses and communities is an important step towards creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
Parvez Abbasi, Project Director, NIC Pakistan said, “On this Women’s Day, we applaud the courage and determination of women around the world, as they continue to overcome varied challenges.”
“At the NIC we are immensely proud that 24% of our female founders are female. That’s compared to Silicon Valley where it’s a lot less. Still, a long way to go!”
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