Celebrating International Women’s Day
March 8 marks the celebration of International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to the social, political and economic achievements of women and girls around the world.
At NRS International, we do not just talk about gender equality and female empowerment; we practice it. We have an unwavering commitment to drive progress for women and girls, which is fundamental to the realisation of human rights, economic growth and key to effective and sustainable development outcomes. We strongly believe in providing equal opportunities for men and women at all echelons of our organisation.
At our Lahore-based manufacturing facility, H. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din & Sons (HSNDS), we started our women’s empowerment programme to support and increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan. Our female production unit, which is completely managed and run by women, provides free transport, medical care, and school fees for their children. In some cases, we provide newly married women with gifts and items to start their new family. Since we are a volume business, we often hire temporary workers to meet demands. We feel a great responsibility to hire locally and to hire as many people as possible, especially women.
The stories of our female employees and their families provides context to the changing landscape in Pakistan and how NRS International has economically empowered women.
A family affair
Being employed for over two years, Mr. Ashraf believes in the importance of giving equal opportunities to women, whom he views as a part of his team.
Our female staff are “cooperative and hardworking,” states Mr. Ashraf when he reflects on his diverse work environment. It was not long after he began to work at HSNDS, when his wife joined him and now, both of them no longer face financial insecurity and feel like their life is now “… very relaxed and smooth” with the additional income.
“I enjoy working at the Female Stitching Unit because HSNDS provides a separate hall and a comfortable work environment for both husbands and wives,” says Ms. Majeedan.
A brother and sister working together
For Ms. Nisbat, age 24, and her brother Mr. Muhamad Afzal, age 20, working together at the factory has given them the lifeline to support their family of 10, including their parents and their young siblings.
“I’ve worked in a factory before but I like the work environment at HSNDS Female Stitching Unit. My co-workers and the management are very attentive to all my needs,” states Ms. Nisbat.
Mr. Afzal has been working at TANA Netting’s Net Cutting Unit for six months and “…can see how my sister has enjoyed working here.” He goes on to say, “I do believe that women play an important role, not just inside the house but also in supporting families and in effectively resolving problems at the workplace.”
Women in management
“Today more job opportunities are available for women and they should support and work together with the entire team,” according to Ms. Tahira, age 24, who has supervised the Female Unit for two years.
“I like my work very much, particularly when it comes to addressing and resolving the female employees’ problems with their work and their family. I’ve been supporting my family for six years and I’m very happy with the work environment,” she continues. “All our female employees here are supporting their families, which provides tremendous responsibility, but all of them are very happy with their job and grateful to management for providing the opportunity.”
“Overall, I can say that the work I do greatly contributes to the company’s success,” Tahira concludes.
When asked what the international community should know about Pakistan women, our employees said proudly, “Pakistani women are very strong, brave, hardworking, multi-tasking and skilled workers more than any other women in the world.”
On the event of International Women’s Day, we are reminded of the world’s responsibility to ensure that women and children have a chance for a healthy and brighter future free from conflict, life-threatening diseases, and gender-based violence.
Providing equal access to resources and opportunities helps women and their families reach their full potential. Show your support for gender equality: Help raise awareness today.