Serena Hotel Becomes First Pakistan Company to Obtain Global Gender Equality Certification
Islamabad, By; Asghar Ali Mubarak
Islamabad Serena Hotels, one of Pakistan’s leading hospitality companies, is now the first Company in Pakistan and the second hospitality company globally to obtain the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification. As an EDGE certified company, Serena Hotels is now part of a group of almost 200 companies that are paving the way for gender equality in their workforce across five continents and representing 24 different industries.EDGE is the leading global standard for gender equality, and the certification recognizes Serena Hotels’ global commitments to creating a workplace where men and women are respected and have equal opportunities to thrive and grow professionally. Globally, women make up half of the workforce in the tourism sector but are overrepresented in low-rank jobs, often get underpaid and also carry out the bulk of unpaid work in small-scale family run tourism enterprises. In Pakistan these challenges are more severe as companies in the tourism sector operate in a culturally and legally conservative context for women. Social norms governing women’s roles in families, their access to public spaces and about what are considered ‘appropriate’ professions for women prevent women from accessing education, trainings and resources to get jobs or to grow in their professions. As the only EDGE certified company in Pakistan and one of the few in the tourism sector globally, Serena Hotels Pakistan is leading the way towards gender equality in the workplace for companies in Pakistan as well as in the tourism sector worldwide.
“Women make up 12% of our overall workforce despite many social and cultural challenges,” said Aziz Boolani, Serena Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer. “As a leading hotel chain, Serena Hotels makes every effort to encourage women for their professional development for assuming higher positions including the leadership role.”Additionally, a growing body of research now supports the strong links between gender equality in private sector organizations and increased profits, growth and innovation for companies that invest in closing gender gaps in their organization. As a responsible corporate body, Serena Hotels has consistently focused on sustainability in their business practices. In 2018, Serena Hotels was recognized as a top performer at the Employer of Choice for Gender Balance awards organized by the International Finance Corporation for companies in the Pakistan Business Council. Additionally, several of Serena Hotels’ initiatives focus on the empowerment of women through capacity building and employment. One such CSR initiative is the “Karighar” program launched by Serena Hotels, that makes an impact by providing entrepreneurship training to various segments of women to engender sustainable growth for their ventures and to improve their quality of life overall.
The EDGE assessment and certification process follows a strict and methodologically rigorous process and focuses on five key workplace areas: recruitment and promotion, leadership development, equal pay, flexible work arrangements, and overall company culture. The assessment reviewed Serena Hotel’s company statistics, HR policies and practices, and included a survey of the over 1800 strong workforce. Following in-depth interviews and discussions, including with Serena Hotel’s HR professionals, Serena Hotels has developed a set of follow-up actions that will continue to promote gender parity in their workforce. More over last year on June 10th 2019 Serena Hotels announced that it is the first Company in Pakistan to collaborate with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and work for the worldwide Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certificate, in line with its commitments and actions to support women’s participation in the private sector.
Serena Hotels reaffirms its commitment to gender equality by providing the opportunity to women to work, including in leadership which will further drive economic growth in the country.
To promote women’s private sector work-force participation in Pakistan, Serena Hotels promote women as employees demonstrating commitment towards workplace gender equality.
“As a leading hotel chain, Serena Hotels makes every effort to encourage women for their professional development for assuming higher positions including the leadership role” said Aziz Boolani, Serena Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer.
“At Serena Hotels, our women make up 12% of overall workforce despite many social and cultural changes.
Applying for EDGE gender certification is a next step for us towards identifying how we can further improve and position ourselves as a ‘Women’s ‘Employer of Choice’.
“There’s no doubt that companies can deliver greater business impact and be more competitive by fostering an equitable and inclusive workplace for women and men,” said Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Country Manager in Pakistan.
“We hope more companies in Pakistan will discover the strength of the business case for greater gender equality in the workplace.”
Serena Hotels as a responsible corporate body continuously work towards empowering women through various initiatives, including capacity building and employment of high potential women.
Among others, Serena Hotels’ “Karighar” a Corporate Social Responsibility program has been making a significant contribution to provide entrepreneurship training to various segment of women for a sustainable growth and quality of life.
EDGE is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality.
Launched at the World Economic Forum, EDGE Certification was designed to help companies not only create an optimal workplace for women and men, but also benefit from it.
EDGE stands for Economic Dividends for Gender Equality and is distinguished by its rigor and focus on business impact.
The methodology uses a business rather than theoretical approach that incorporates benchmarking, metrics, and accountability into the process. It assesses policies, practices, and numbers across five different areas of analysis: equal pay for equivalent work, recruitment and promotion, leadership development training and mentoring, flexible working, and company culture. EDGE Certification has received the endorsement of business, government, and academic leaders from around the world. For more information, visit http://www.edge-cert.org
Serena Hotels remains dedicated to enhance its gender balance through the range of services that are accessible through its growing network of hotels.