In Islamabad, today on the 9th of March, in order to strengthen its commitment to the GSMA Connected Women Initiative and increase the number of female mobile broadband users and female microentrepreneurs, Jazz, Pakistan’s top digital operator and a member of the VEON Group, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with GSMA, a global organization that unifies and represents the mobile ecosystem.

The major goal of the GSMA Connected Women Initiative, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to promote women’s empowerment by enabling their access to financial independence by creating and promoting microbusiness opportunities for them. In accordance with this Letter of Intent, GSMA will offer Jazz consulting support to investigate how female micro-entrepreneurs utilize cell phones for their enterprises, pinpoint obstacles preventing their expansion, and develop new digital and commercial strategies in order to maximize profits.

The goal of Jazz’s partnership with GSMA is to provide regular updates and feedback on their projects while also expanding smartphone ownership and internet access among female micro-entrepreneurs.

Jazz was previously honored by GSMA for successfully launching the Jazz Digit 4G smart features phones globally in order to enhance 4G penetration and smartphone ownership under its “4G for All” mission. To entice everyone to join the digital ecosystem, the digital operator also provides Shariah-compliant simple installment payment plans on these 4G-enabled phones.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Aamir Ibrahim, Jazz CEO, highlighted, “Women empowerment is at the heart of everything we do at Jazz so we are proud to extend this collaboration with GSMA. Over the years, we have undertaken a number of initiatives, to bridge the digital gender equality gap including our ongoing nationwide Rural Data Education Campaign to digitally empower rural populations including men and women.”

Jazz has worked with UNDP and UN Women to conduct numerous national financial and digital literacy training programs to equip women with the technical and entrepreneurial skillsets necessary to improve their lives and means of subsistence.

In collaboration with LUMS, Jazz also established an executive leadership development program for its female managers. This program is also open on the basis of merit to senior female professionals outside the organization.

Jazz’s Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) vertical is built on a strong policy framework that addresses the particular issues faced by women in the workplace. It also delivers a gender-balanced workplace that provides women from all backgrounds with a welcoming professional space. The corporation offers maternity leave benefits for six months, flexible return support for new mothers for six months, and a program for women returning to corporate roles after a pause in their careers, among other female-specific initiatives. It also offers Pink Cards, which give Jazz employees and their families a 50% discount on medical exams connected to women.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, emphasizes the urgent interventions required to address the gender disparity in the workplace in the fields of technology, science, engineering, and mathematics. These initiatives attest to the company’s mission to create a Digital Pakistan and are in line with this theme.

Four Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are achieved through the extension of the GSMA Connected Women Initiative, including SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 9 on the industry, innovation, and infrastructure, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities, and SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities.