Pakistani game development studio leading the way for gender diversity

ISLAMABAD: The company WeRplay has become the first game development studio in Pakistan to step up its commitment towards improving gender diversity within its business model by signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), with support from UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women).

UN Women and WeRplay will be working together to enhance women’s access to organized work opportunities. The Seven Principles for Women’s Empowerment – a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact – provide a set of guidelines to assist companies focus on key elements integral to promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community, through policy and action. This includes the promotion of women to executive positions, career development opportunities for women employees, supporting women-owned companies as vendors and service providers, promoting a positive image of women in marketing campaigns and enhancing basic facilities within the company (childcare, maternity and paternity leave, flexible work options, etc.).

Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative for UN Women Pakistan, congratulated WeRplay for committing to integrate the seven principles and explained: “Empowering women within the corporate sector starts by recognizing the different challenges that men and women face in our society, both in terms of household responsibilities and professional development. For decades, men have had higher access to career opportunities, resources and decision-making as compared to women. Therefore, only through positive action and conscious efforts can we create real change. Companies have a key role to play as “change agents” to build a world where gender equality is a reality and to help women gain confidence in their ability to take managerial positions”.

Winner of three [email protected] awards for gender diversity in 2014, 2015 and 2016, WeRplay already counts 37% female employees, among which 12 are on managerial positions. This is a significant achievement in a sector where women are underrepresented in Pakistan: only 0.2% of the women holding a professional degree work in the information and technology sector. Speaking on the occasion, Mohsin Afzal, CEO of WeRPlay, said: “This partnership with UN Women symbolizes our commitment to support the empowerment of women through our overall corporate activities. At WeRplay, we believe in the creation of an inclusive work environment where men and women can contribute to their full potential. This includes building a fun, autonomous and safe workplace where creativity and participatory working practices are encouraged. Embracing flexibility and building trust among each other is essential to enable employees to combine work and family demands. We are doing our very best to promote flexible timings, equal opportunity for growth, travel allowance, lunch & infinite snacks, in-house sports area, game room, library, trainings, trips, team building activities and medical insurance”.

WeRplay is planning to undertake a comprehensive gender audit of its policies to get a full picture of the strengths and challenges of the company in terms of women’s empowerment. Conducted with the support of UN Women, this assessment will help identify windows of opportunities to deepen the involvement of the company in gender equality initiatives. The company will also take part in diverse events organized by UN Women where private companies will discuss recent pioneer thinking and exchange good practices to enhance women’s participation in the corporate sector.

The economic participation of women is recognized globally as essential for the progress of a nation and growth of its economy. By signing the seven steps of the Women’s Empowerment Principles, WeRplay takes on a global approach that 1644 companies have already taken in the world. To date, 25 companies in Pakistan have made a public commitment of support by signing onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

we.R.play is an indie game development studio based in Islamabad, Pakistan. we.R.play’s games have been downloaded over 7 million times across multiple platforms and have also been featured on itunes as well as google play. These include titles such as Lost Twins, Run Sheeda Run, Dream Chaser (published by Chillingo), Robo Quest (published by PocketGems), FotoFinish (published by Namco), Space Leap and Lost Twins. 

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