SEED Ventures’ CEO Shaista Ayesha is a woman on a mission. She has dedicated her life to breaking down the barriers that prevent women from achieving their full potential in leadership roles.
“The Women in Leadership Programme is British Council’s comprehensive training and development initiative aimed at empowering and equipping women to reach their full potential as leaders in their respective fields.
“The gender gap in Pakistan is a harsh reality that has persisted for far too long, but the Women in Leadership Programme is on a mission to change that,” she shared.
With the help of the British Council and Clore Social Leadership training, this programme aims to empower women in Pakistan to break into leadership positions and pave the way for gender parity.
Creating Tangible Solutions
Shaista Ayesha explained how the Women in Leadership Programme addresses the specific challenges women face when entering leadership positions.
The programme uses Clore Social Leadership training modules to help women understand the source of their power and contextualize their understanding. The training provides a range of professional and personal development opportunities, including training workshops, mentorship, and networking events. And we don’t just stop there. We also focus on creating tangible solutions that women can use to achieve their goals and move ahead.
Shaista is genuinely passionate about the programme and its impact on the women who participated.
In this programme, I have seen women who didn’t even know they had this potential inside of them. Through the structured material and curriculum, we help them understand their selves. Self-awareness and self-realization empower you to take on leadership roles.
Shaista explicated how Clore Social Leadership training modules focused on self-cognizance and helped the participants identify their strengths and weaknesses about their surrounding environment and systems, helping to restructure the patriarchal leadership framework.
Fostering a Sense of Community
The Women in Leadership Programme is more than just a course, it is a platform for women to come together, share their experiences and support each other as they work towards their goals.
There is a curriculum for WIL, we have groups across all social media platforms and have digital meetups that provide women with the opportunity to engage. The networking among the facilitators and the participants in the programme has sped up because of such groups.
The programme aims to foster a sense of community and to belong among women across all socio-economic strata.
By encouraging networking and support among participants, the WIL Programme helps create a culture where women lift each other and work together towards their shared goal.
Shaista also talked about the importance of intersectionality and how the programme addresses the unique challenges women from different backgrounds face.
We have two trans women in the programme, and the content by no means differentiates between cis and trans women. The programme speaks the same language for all – it’s all-encompassing yet inclusive.
Finding the Right Balance as per Shaista Ayesha
Shaista Ayesha prompts work-life balance for women in leadership positions.
Talking about her own experience, She detailed how women in leadership positions often prioritize work over everything else because of the country’s inherently patriarchal nature of leadership.
The course teaches you that not everything related to work is urgent and important. That’s why Clore Social Leadership training has a wellness action plan. Women need to take care of themselves and find a balance between their personal and professional responsibilities.
Shaista’s passion and commitment to promoting women’s leadership continue to drive her forward.
By empowering women to take on leadership roles, the WIL Programme is working towards changing the overall culture of organisations to be more inclusive and supportive of women’s leadership. And the impact of the programme goes beyond just the individual participants.
We’re taking a different approach here. We want multinationals to come forward and support this programme. By partnering with the right organisations, we can help the participants and provide HR training as well. There’s so much potential for a second cycle, – Shaista Ayesha
By creating a pipeline of women leaders, the WIL Programme is contributing to the broader landscape of women’s leadership in various fields and pushing Pakistan closer towards gender parity.
This article has been contributed by :
Tehreem M. Alam, Comms Manager SEED Ventures
This article is produced for the British Council’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Programme based on Clore Social Leadership training. It is a comprehensive training and development initiative aimed at empowering and equipping women to reach their full potential as leaders in their respective fields.
The WIL Programme was designed to address the ongoing issue of gender inequality in the workplace and at home and to provide women with the tools and skills necessary to succeed as leaders in a rapidly changing world.